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December 8, 2020 2:08 pm

Report: Progressive CUNY Faculty Group Scheduled Meeting on Shabbat to Exclude Orthodox Jewish Professor

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Kingsborough Community College. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A group of faculty members at the City University of New York’s Kingsborough Community College (KCC) are suspected of purposely excluding an Orthodox Jewish colleague from a meeting by scheduling it on Shabbat, according to a New York Post report.

The meeting in question was to be held in March 2018 by the Progressive Faculty Caucus (PFC) to discuss alleged anti-LGBT discrimination on campus. The meeting ultimately did not take place due to the controversy that arose over its timing.

Professor Jeffrey Lax filed a complaint with GCC alleging that the meeting had been deliberately set to occur on a Friday night, which would have made it impossible for him to attend because of his Shabbat observance.

KCC subsequently hired a law firm, Jackson Lewis, to investigate the incident.

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A report compiled by the firm said three witnesses had confirmed Lax’s assertion. It quoted one of the witnesses as saying that “left wing people didn’t like [Lax] because he was pro-Trump, pro-Israel, he’s a Zionist, conservative American.”

Ironically, the Post noted, Lax has expressed support for LGBT legal protections in columns he has penned.

The firm’s report said, “In using his religious observance to exclude him, the PFC treated Lax less favorably based on his religion.”

Jonah Zweig — Lax’s attorney — was quoted by the Post as saying, “An independent investigation of the City University of New York has confirmed the existence of antisemitic discrimination on the Kingsborough Community College campus.”

Brooke Goldstein — executive director of the The Lawfare Project — said, “PFC intentionally scheduled the meeting on the sabbath so that Jeffrey Lax, an outwardly observant Jew, would not be able to attend. This is discrimination on its face and should not be allowed.”

 

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