NYC council members hold hearing on anti-Semitism at city’s public colleges

New York City council members hold a hearing to expose anti-Semitism in the US city’s public colleges and call for action from university leadership.

Lawyers and Jewish groups accuse the City University of New York (CUNY) school systems administration of overlooking widespread anti-Semitism at its 26 colleges.

CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodríguez canceled his appearance at the last minute before the Higher Education Commission, the second time he has postponed his appearance. No CUNY directors are present in person.

Five council members are present out of 51 in the council, and around 20 protesters gather outside City Hall.

“The fact that he’s not running perpetuates the anti-Semitism that we’re talking about,” council member Inna Vernikov said of the chancellor. “What a fraud. What an insult to the Jewish community.

Faculty and students are ready to speak to lawmakers about their experiences with anti-Semitism on campus. Three CUNY administrators connect via Zoom.

Committee chair Eric Dinowitz shares anecdotes about anti-Semitism on campus. Jewish students who prayed were called “dirty Jews,” he said, with no response from the administration. In other cases, students called for violence against Jews or spoke out in favor of Adolf Hitler.

A former professor, who declines to share her name due to concerns about work opportunities, said CUNY fired some Jewish professors last year during the Gaza conflict, without giving a reason.

“I know a lot of teachers who are disgusted with what they’re doing,” she says.

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