The City University of New York denied a report that it had created a special minority designation for Jewish faculty.
Rather, a university spokesman told JTA, the university simply had responded to requests by Jewish faculty members to be recruited for focus groups aimed at boosting the recruitment of minorities to serve on the CUNY faculty—part of the university’s new Demographic Action Plan.
The original report about the Demographic Action Plan appeared in the New York Post on Sunday and was picked up by JTA, among other news outlets. The Post quoted faculty members, Jews and non-Jews, objecting to the demographic designation of White/Jewish.
The article in the Post “mistakenly suggests that a new special category for Jewish faculty has been created,” university spokesman Michael Arena told JTA. “CUNY undertook a comprehensive review of its ongoing efforts to enhance its leadership role in recruiting and retaining a highly qualified and diverse faculty. Focus groups were organized with faculty volunteers serving as participants for a variety of diverse groups. The focus group of Jewish faculty came explicitly at the request of Jewish faculty. No one ever contemplated adding a religious faith to the data categories.”
The university’s new Demographic Action Plan was issued last month by CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
The American Jewish Committee’s legal expert, Marc Stern, said the initial report was “Truly bizarre because no legal requirement that they ask about religion, and the Jewish community for a very long time has been vigorously opposed to identifying people in that way.”