University Announces Members of the Task Force on Antisemitism
Columbia University has announced the full membership of its Task Force on Antisemitism, with faculty across schools, disciplines, and backgrounds joining co-chairs Ester R. Fuchs, Nicholas Lemann, and David M. Schizer.
The task force was created to address the harmful impact of rising antisemitism on Jewish members of the Columbia community and to ensure that protection, respect, and belonging extend to all members of the University community.
“This is incredibly difficult and important work,” said Columbia University President Minouche Shafik, Barnard College President Laura Ann Rosenbury, and Teachers College President Thomas R. Bailey, who announced the creation of the task force last month. “We formed this task force to enhance our ability to address the ancient, but terribly resilient, scourge of antisemitism. We know that this impressive group of people with extensive experience and expertise across a wide range of areas is certainly up to the challenge, and we look forward to working together as the project evolves and matures.”
“It’s urgent to address the reality that Jewish members of our community feel vulnerable to antisemitic bias and harassment,” said task force co-chairs Ester R. Fuchs, Nicholas Lemann, and David M. Schizer. “They are frustrated that the instrumentalities in place to ensure safety and equity don’t always include them. By better addressing antisemitism, Columbia will more effectively fulfill its core responsibility to ensure that all students, educators, and administrators feel safe and free from violence, harassment, and intimidation on campus.”
The task force will work on three broad initiatives. First, it will engage in a serious and honest assessment of the sources and extent of the discomfort that many Jewish members of the Columbia community feel. This will take the form of listening sessions with students, faculty, staff, and others most directly affected. In this initiative, the task force will also seek insights and perspectives from a broad array of professionals who touch the lives of students, from faculty to teaching assistants to Residential Life professionals. The task force will document these various experiences and perspectives, so everyone in the Columbia community can gain a deeper understanding of the relevant challenges and the dynamics contributing to them.
Second, the Task Force on Antisemitism will review University policies, rules, and practices that impact the campus climate to make sure they protect the University’s core commitment to free speech, as well as to a safe and inclusive environment for all Columbians, including Columbia’s Jewish community. This work will be done in consultation with the University Senate and other governing bodies.
Third, the task force will also propose various other ways to sensitize the entire community to antisemitism, to counter it more effectively, and to support Jews at Columbia. It will also consider ways that academic and intellectual life can be enhanced to promote Jewish studies and ensure that it fully embodies the principles of free expression and viewpoint diversity.
The end result will be recommendations, beginning in early 2024, to have the most immediate possible impact. Longer term, the task force will recommend more ambitious changes that will help institutionalize and sustain progress toward an improved campus climate.
“Antisemitism most directly threatens the Jewish community,” conclude Fuchs, Lemann, and Schizer. “But it is also an affront to the core values of our community. We fully expect that many task force findings and recommendations will also bolster efforts to prevent and mitigate all forms of hate, bigotry, and bias—and to improve the health of our campus as a welcoming place to learn and thrive.”
Task Force Co-Chairs
Ester R. Fuchs, Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science and Director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at SIPA
Nicholas Lemann, Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professor of Journalism and Dean Emeritus of Columbia Journalism School
David M. Schizer, Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics and Dean Emeritus of Columbia Law School
Laura Kay, Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Barnard College Co-Chair
Peter T. Coleman, Professor of Psychology and Education, Teachers College and The Earth Institute, Teachers College Co-Chair
Task Force Members
Clémence Boulouque, Carl and Bernice Witten Associate Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies, Department of Religion
Jeremy A. Dauber, Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture, Department of Germanic Languages
R. Glenn Hubbard, Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Dean Emeritus of Columbia Business School, Director, Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business, Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Rebecca Kobrin, Russell and Bettina Knapp Associate Professor of American Jewish History, Department of History, Co-Director, Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies
Jennifer Lee, Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology
Lisa Rosen-Metsch, Dean, Columbia School of General Studies, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences
Magda Schaler-Haynes, Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Department of Population and Family Health, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health
Nir Y. Uriel, Seymour, Paul and Gloria Milstein Professor of Medicine, Director of NYP Heart Failure, Heart Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support Programs, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Matthew C. Waxman, Liviu Librescu Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
Gil Zussman, Professor and Vice Chair, Electrical Engineering Department, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science