Rutgers University is disciplining Dr. Michael Chikindas, the Rutgers professor of food science who posted anti-Semitic cartoons to his Facebook page.
In a letter sent today to Rutgers faculty members, University President Robert Barchi and Chancellor Deba Dutta announced four steps the school will take concerning Dr. Chikindas.
He no longer will teach required courses, so students can avoid taking to take his classes.
He has been removed as director of Rutger’s Center for Digestive Health at the Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health. “No Rutgers employee will be required to work in an administrative unit that he heads,” the Rutgers leaders wrote.
Additionally, Dr. Chikindas “will be required to participate in a cultural sensitivity training program, and will be subject to ongoing monitoring if and when he returns to the classroom,” they added.
Finally, the university is seeking further disciplinary actions, which could include a semester’s leave without pay and possibly dismissal. Under the school’s policy for tenured faculty members, if the university president wants to fire Dr. Chikindas, he would have to convince a five-member faculty panel that the professor is guilty of “failure to maintain standards of sound scholarship and competent teaching,” of “gross neglect of established University obligations appropriate to the appointment,” or of “incompetence.”
According to the letter, “A fundamental expectation of a university is to provide an environment in which students can learn, discover their passions, and do research free from fears of discrimination, harassment, or disruption.
“So, too, should our faculty and staff expect a professional environment that is welcoming and free from discrimination.
“Earlier this fall, Michael Chikindas, a Rutgers–New Brunswick tenured professor, was found to have posted extensive bigoted, discriminatory, and anti-Semitic material on social media. This material perpetuated toxic stereotypes and was deeply upsetting to Jewish students, faculty, and staff across our community. The fears and concerns they have expressed to us and many university leaders are both justified and understandable.”