Michael Chikindas, a Rutgers University professor in the food science department, has been relieved of his teaching duties after he allegedly uploaded anti-Semitic posts to his Facebook page.
Chikindas was removed as the director of the Center for Digestive Health and has been barred from teaching “required classes” after racist posts of his were discovered on his Facebook. Chikindas allegedly posted anti-Jewish and anti-Israel comments on his page over several months, including some saying the Armenian genocide was orchestrated by Jews. He claimed his Facebook was hacked.
A tenured professor at Rutgers since 2007, Chikindas began working at the University at 1998. According to NJ.com, he will undergo cultural sensitivity training and will be “subject to ongoing monitoring if and when he returns to the classroom”.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi said Chikindas will no longer teach required courses and will be removed from his post as director of the Center for Digestive Health at the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health. Chikindas, a Rutgers professor since 1998 who earned tenure in 2007, will undergo cultural sensitivity training and will be “subject to ongoing monitoring if and when he returns to the classroom,” Barchi said. He said Rutgers is also seeking further disciplinary action through Appendix H of the collective bargaining agreement with the faculty union, which outlines the process of faculty suspensions at less than full pay.
“The faculty contract requires that a specific process be followed in making a determination if a suspension of a faculty member is unpaid or at reduced pay,” Dory Devlin, a spokeswoman for the university, said. “That process is being followed as the faculty contract requires.”
Barchi, in his statement, said: “This has been a sad and deeply troubling situation for our students and our staff, and for our faculty, who stand for much nobler values than those expressed by this particular professor. While the university is and should always be a place that challenges students to grapple with complex and even controversial ideas, this situation has threatened the trust between professors and students that is a prerequisite to learning.”
Chikindas could not be reached for comment.