Rutgers University

Students calling for removal of food science professor behind anti-Semitic Facebook posts

bf2d5d442c2ceba8127d_unnamed.jpg
bf2d5d442c2ceba8127d_unnamed.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Student activists are pushing for the suspension of a professor ​who has allegedly posted dozens of ​anti-Semitic posts on his Facebook profile.

The petition, started by Rutgers first-year-student Miriam Waghalter, asks that the university take “swift action” against Michael Chikindas, a microbiology professor at the food science department, for a myriad of racist and anti-Semitic posts.

Chikindas’ Facebook contained anti-Semitic characters, posts where he called “motherf***ing Jews,” the “most racist religion in the world,” and referring to Israel as a “terrorist country.” His Facebook has reportedly been deleted.

Sign Up for E-News

The ​revelation comes days after recruitment flyers for the white supremacist group Identity Evropa, were posted across campus, along with a flyer on one of the Rutgers buses which read “Black lives don’t matter.”

“It’s disturbing,” Waghalter said. “Even though we’re young adults, we still look up to faculty in order to help continue to shape our opinions of the world, and for someone of that stature, to be preaching these views, is problematic in that sense.”

Waghalter identifies ​herself ​as an Orthodox Jew, and since starting at Rutgers just over two months ago, has become involved with Rutgers Hillel, one of the university’s two Jewish student centers​ prominent on College Avenue.​

“It’s still an amazing place for Jews, the most amazing place for Jews,” Waghalter said, adding that she’s been involved with Hillel prayer services and the Scarlet Knights for Israel student organization.

As of 5:01 p.m. on October 26, the petition garnered 783 signatures.

“Faculty are the heart and soul of the university,” reads the petition. “If they are not held accountable when they promote racism and prejudice, then hatred and division will grow, to the detriment of our students, our beloved university and our whole society.”

Chikindas’ posts were first brought to light by blogger Aussie Dave and his page, IsraellyCool, which featured dozens of screenshots from Chikindas’ page, depicting anti-Semitic rants, photos and interactions with other Facebook users.

One of the posts Chikindas shared on May 25, from the page “End AIPAC,” depicts an “Anti-Semitism Card,” which reads “Get Out of Jail Free,” and shows the Monopoly game’s mascot flying out of a bird cage.

“When your Zionist Agenda gets busted, play the Anti-Semitism Card,” the post reads. “Claim everything. Admit nothing.”

Another post on Chikindas’ page read, ““They can go f*** each other in their fat arses — you see, I do not have anything to loose, hence nothing to be controlled.”

In another post, Chikindas shows a woman carrying dozens of hundred dollar bills. Below the photo, Chikindas wrote in a comment that “One may only wonder: why on earth the simple Jewish female is carrying the $10K in her bag… Doesn’t it make you suspicious?”

Posts featured caricatures of Jews, depicting a Jewish man with a large nose, a yellow Star of David and malicious grin.

In an email to NJ Advance Media, Chikindas alleged that his Facebook account was hacked.

"As a result of my account being hacked, I cannot say with confidence that everything on my page was shared by me: There is a good chance for some things being placed on my page by those who hacked my account," Chikindas wrote in an email to NJ Advance Media. 

But Chikindas didn't deny sharing material on his Facebook that was considered anti-Semitic. 

Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Deb Dutta said that the university was certainly considering suspending Chikindas, and that they plan to be further investigating the violations​, as students across the campus express revulsion.​

“Rutgers’ position on free speech is clear: All of the members of our community, including faculty and staff, are free to express their viewpoints in public forums as private citizens,” wrote university spokesperson Neal Buccino. "Yet at Rutgers University we must also foster an environment free from discrimination, as articulated in our policy prohibiting discrimination.”

Buccino also confirmed that the university will be investigating Chikindas posts and determine the best course of action.

Other students​ expressed disbelief and shock​ as well, such as Rutgers sophomore Elisheva Strauss, who’s studying cell biology and neuroscience and also identifies as Jewish.

“Honestly, it’s something that scares me,” Strauss said. “It’s being in that class or being in that department, that’s something that I’m nervous about.”

Yet Strauss remained confident the university would stand up for her, and any ​other Rutgers ​student, who was being penalized by a professor or other university employee for their religious beliefs.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - January 19, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

STATEWIDE - New Jersey Republicans are not crazy. That's the key message, as state GOP members plan to barnstorm the state to connect with local leaders, in an effort to create a wide gap from President Trump. Republicans in the post-Christie era find themselves struggling for relevancy and identity, sandwiched between a Trump presidency that hates ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 18, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

STATEWIDE – The state has found a new, innovative way for you to wait on a line, unveiling a pair of mobile MVC offices. It is all about getting those friendly folks at the Motor Vehicle Commission to serve you even better, without the need for you to visit one of those dreadful offices and join various lines of equally-bored wannabe motorists. State ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 16, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

TRENTON - Red-blooded New Jerseyans, in their respectable Republican cloth coats, have been dreading today. An actual breathing liberal, once again, takes over the governor's office and ruins everything. It was eight strong years of solid conservative stewardship, they think, as they trudge up the stairs of the War Memorial in Trenton, scuffing their ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 12, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

YOUR BACKYARD - If we don't kill our bears, their children and grandchildren will be living in your backyard. That is one way to summarize a 12-page report from state wildlife officials, claiming that Gov.-elect Phil Murphy's plan to stop the bear hunts could cause their population to double by 2022, NJ.com reports. Murphy wants to ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 11, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

UP THE CREEK - New Jersey has a weaker tax base, higher taxes and simmering fury amongst taxpayers. It is a recipe for financial trouble, reports The Wall Street Journal, noting it has been more than 20 years since New Jersey was current on its pension payments, leaving the state nearly $100 billion in the hole. And while ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 10, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie talked for more than two hours yesterday, in his farewell "State of the State" address, highlighting all of his accomplishments. He served eight years (well, minus the two years he ran for President) and has done so much that we must recognize and appreciate. So, without further ado, free of slant or snark, here is ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_f91ed86077ea29dfd56e_image

Tue, January 23

Plainsboro

Project Feeder Watch

Green Home & Garden

Carousel_image_f91ed86077ea29dfd56e_image

Wed, January 24

Plainsboro

Project Feeder Watch

Green Home & Garden

Wed, January 24, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

The Illusionists

Arts & Entertainment

Lower Tuition Under Murphy? Not So Fast, Rutgers Pres. Says

January 22, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Gov. Phil Murphy, following his inauguration last week, ​ticked off a list of lofty goals and​ progressive​ proposals for the state. 

Yet allies and opponents have shown skepticism, or at least questioned, his vision for New Jersey

Rutgers President Robert Barchi made himself no exception, during ​a start-of-the-semester kick-off address at the Rutgers ...

Rutgers Historians Collecting 2018 Women's March Signs

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Believe it or not, we’re living through history right now. That’s why the Rutgers University Libraries want to collect artifacts and memorabilia from the present day.

If you took part in yesterday's women's march in Morristown, or one of the "sister" marches across the state, you should consider donating your signs and protest memorabilia ...

Rutgers Equestrian Team Coach Elected As IHSA Second Vice President

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) held their annual board meeting in Orlando, Florida, Jan. 3-6. The 55-member board met in general session and in individual committees during the three-day event.

Kelly Francfort Named Second Vice President

Kelly Francfort, coach of the Rutgers team, chair of IHSA Zone 3 and the public relations committee, was named ...

OPINION

Letter to the Editor: Proposed Medicaid Cuts Threaten Families

January 5, 2018

Medicaid – the safety next for millions of Americans – continues to be under attack.

Whether debating healthcare legislation, tax reform or deficit reduction, lawmakers see Medicaid as some magic source of ready-made cost savings. Many don’t seem to understand how intertwined Medicaid is within society; a lifeline for so many families – like mine.

I am the parent of ...

Climate Engineering, Once Started, Would Have Severe Impacts If Stopped, Rutgers Study Says

January 22, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Facing a climate crisis, we may someday spray sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere to form a cloud that cools the Earth, but suddenly stopping the spraying would have a severe global impact on animals and plants, according to the first study on the potential biological impacts of geoengineering, or climate intervention.

The study was published online today ...

Get Off the Couch. Walk the Dog. Live Longer.

January 15, 2018

“Sitting is the new smoking”. This is the new mantra in cardiology and global population health. Sitting, or a sedentary lifestyle, has long been known as a risk factor for the development of heart disease.

Excessive sitting is also associated with a higher mortality rate. Is sitting really as bad as smoking for your health? Why is sitting so detrimental? What strategies can combat ...