3 Columbia Deans Placed on Leave Over Conduct at Antisemitism Panel

Columbia University placed three administrators on leave this week while the school investigated their conduct at an alumni panel discussion on antisemitism last month, according to a university spokesman. The administrators were placed on leave after leaked images emerged last week showing the trio sharing disparaging text messages during the event.

The panel, which focused on Jewish life on campus amid tensions over Israel’s war in Gaza, occurred during a Columbia College reunion on May 31.

The three administrators were Susan Chang-Kim, the vice dean and chief administrative officer; Cristen Kromm, the dean of undergraduate student life; and Matthew Patashnick, the associate dean for student and family support, according to The Washington Free Beacon, which first acquired the images of the exchanged text messages.

Ms. Chang-Kim also exchanged texts during the event with Josef Sorett, the dean of Columbia College, according to The Free Beacon. In one exchange, Mr. Sorett texted “LMAO,” for “laughing my ass off,” in response to a sarcastic message Ms. Chang-Kim had written about Brain Cohen, the executive director of Columbia/Barnard Hillel, according to The Free Beacon.

Mr. Sorett is cooperating with the investigation, according to a university official. He will be recused from matters relating to the investigation while continuing to serve as dean.

Attempts to reach Mr. Sorett and the other administrators were unsuccessful.

A spokesman for Columbia College did not respond to questions seeking to confirm which administrators were put on leave, what they were disciplined for and why Mr. Sorett did not receive the same discipline. Because the investigation is pending, the spokesman said the school would not address specifics about it or the initial episode.

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