Announcing Task Force on Antisemitism
Dear fellow members of the Columbia, Barnard, and Teachers College communities,
Today we are announcing the formation of a Task Force on Antisemitism to enhance our ability to address this ancient, but terribly resilient, form of hatred. We are taking this step as part of a commitment to ensuring that our campuses are safe, welcoming, and inclusive for Jewish students, faculty, and staff, and all of us.
One would hope that by the twenty-first century, antisemitism would have been relegated to the dustbin of history. But it has been rising here in New York City, across the country, and around the world in recent years. We also know that antisemitism can escalate during conflicts far from our campuses, translating into hateful speech and acts directed at Jewish people here at Columbia, Barnard, and Teachers College. We have been distressed that a series of antisemitic incidents on campus have been reported in the three weeks following the October 7 terror attack in Israel and outbreak of war in Gaza.
We want to reiterate that we will not tolerate such actions and are moving forcefully against antisemitic threats, images, and other violations as they are reported, and we will continue to provide additional resources to protect our campuses. But we also need to address the root causes. The Task Force on Antisemitism will be a critical tool for making our institutions more inclusive and compassionate.
In the coming months, the task force will identify practical ways for our safety and inclusion work to enhance support for all members of the Columbia, Barnard, and Teachers College communities, particularly our Jewish students. Longer term, it will recommend more ambitious changes related to academic and extracurricular offerings and student, faculty, and staff training programs.
We are pleased that the task force will be led by Ester 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; and David M. Schizer, Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics and Dean Emeritus of Columbia Law School. In the coming days, we will appoint Barnard and Teachers College co-chairs along with additional diverse task force members from the three institutions, and build the foundation for a thoughtful, rigorous, and impactful process.
Community and values don’t stand on their own. We must constantly reaffirm and reinforce them with action. The Task Force on Antisemitism represents the first in a series of steps we will be announcing in the coming days to reinvigorate community-building, develop robust support networks, and tackle head-on the destructive forces that seek to undermine our values and divide us across a range of issues. This is an opportunity for every academic department, every faculty member and teaching assistant, every member of the administration, and every member of the Columbia, Barnard, and Teachers College student family to bring their ideas, life experiences, and spirit to help us emerge as a stronger and more cohesive community.
President, Columbia University in the City of New York
Laura Ann Rosenbury
President, Barnard College
Thomas R. Bailey
President, Teachers College