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November 19, 2021 3:47 pm
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Jewish CUNY Professor Found Discriminated Against After Faculty Group Intentionally Held Meetings on Shabbat

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Simsala111 / Wikimedia Commons

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that a Jewish professor at a Brooklyn, New York, community college was discriminated against based on his identity as an “Observant and Zionist” Jew after he was excluded from a faculty group, according to ruling revealed on Wednesday.

The decision vindicated the claims of Jeffrey Lax, who in 2019 filed a civil rights complaint against the City University of New York and its constituent Kingsborough Community College, where he is a professor of business. Lax had alleged that the school’s Progressive Faculty Caucus (PFC) had deliberately scheduled meetings on Shabbat to prevent him and other observant Jews from attending.

EEOC investigators found “reasonable cause” to believe that Lax was discriminated and retaliated against on account of his religion.

The PFC “continued to meet on Friday evenings failing to reschedule and accommodate [Lax] and other similarly situated employees to attend due to their religious observance,” the February ruling said.

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It was published on social media by the group Students And Faculty for Equality at CUNY (SAFE CUNY), which describes itself as a “non-partisan group advocating for systemically excluded Zionist Jews and all protected classes.”

In a statement to The Algemeiner on Thursday, Kingsborough Community College said it “is committed to a diverse and inclusive community where students, faculty and staff feel safe, welcome, and free to pursue their studies and their work. We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, and allegations of discrimination are taken incredibly seriously. The College is, however, unable to comment on pending litigation.”

CUNY did not immediately provide a comment.

In June, Lax joined a number of CUNY faculty resigning from the university system’s faculty union following its passage of a controversial resolution condemning Israel, a group that has since grown to 262, according to the Resign PSC campaign.

Editor’s note: this article has been updated with details of the complaint and of resignations from the CUNY faculty union

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