Leaked CUNY E-mail Shows Kingsborough Community College Downplays Anti-Semitism
Statement – For Immediate Release
February 28, 2019
The Lawfare Project's client Michael Goldstein, a Kingsborough Community College administrator and adjunct professor, recently published an op-ed in the New York Daily News about the severe anti-Semitism he has experienced on campus, and pointed out the failure of his university administration to address the issue.
On February 21st, in a leaked e-mail addressed to the CUNY Board of Trustees, President Claudia Schrader appeared to blame the media for shedding light on anti-Semitism on campus. The copy of the e-mail in its entirety is below (emphasis added).
Dear Chair Thompson and CUNY Trustees,
As you know, today we announced the exciting news that Kingsborough has earned prestigious Leader College of Distinction status from Achieving the Dream for achieving higher student outcomes and narrowing equity gaps. KCC was one of only 11 community colleges nationwide to draw the accolade, and the only one in New York State.
Unfortunately, this very positive news has been overshadowed, to some extent, by the spate of negative news coverage that has recently appeared in the local press regarding allegations of anti-Semitism on our campus. The campus is also being besieged by a torrent of angry emails, expressing outrage on the part of individuals who are unknown and external to the college.
As a staunch supporter of the college, you undoubtedly share my concerns. It is indeed unfortunate that our beloved college community has been subjected to negative press that now has the potential to undermine the college's good reputation and imperil the outstanding work, done by so many, to advance student success. While I have no authority over the perspectives that are published in newspapers and other media, please rest assured that I am deeply committed to ensuring a campus atmosphere of inclusion, diversity and respect. While investigations are ongoing and until these matters are resolved, we are taking all necessary measures to safeguard those who feel threatened, and to protect the rights of those accused. Our focus remains on the education and wellbeing of our students.
I came to Kingsborough last September with eyes wide open to the challenges this college faces, but my hopes were buttressed by its longstanding history of diversity and inclusion. From faculty, staff and students alike, the affection for this institution and each other is most evident. Having seen displays of kindness and collegiality when walking the halls every day, I can attest that this institution reflects the best of humankind.
I remain grateful for your continued support and commitment to the success of Kingsborough, and to the students who call this vibrant community their academic home.
Instead of responding with a strong public condemnation and taking action against the harassment, Kingsborough's administrator chose to malign the press for sharing Mr. Goldstein's story.
Furthermore, on February 25th, in a college-wide e-mail addressed to the KCC community from the KCC President, there was no explicit condemnation of the anti-Semitism experienced by Goldstein; rather, the incidents were merely treated as "allegations of anti-Semitism". While the e-mail claims investigations are ongoing, Michael Goldstein has not received any clarification on the status of his claims.
The CUNY administrator's reaction underscores not only the college's abject failure in preventing anti-Semitism, but also its refusal to come to terms with anti-Semitism on its campus.
The Lawfare Project will continue defending the civil rights of Mr. Goldstein and calls on the CUNY administration, as well as New York's elected leadership, to seriously investigate the anti-Semitism plaguing their public campuses. It is time for them to take meaningful steps to hold perpetuators accountable and create a safer campus for all students and faculty.