Professor Michael Chikindas, of Rutgers University is in hot water after a social media post venting about the Armenian Genocide – where over 1 million Turkish Christians were systematically murdered in the early 1900s.
Chikindas is a professor of food sciences, with Rutgers’ Center for Digestive Health, with a long history of making edgy social media posts. As far back as 2015, Chikindas was making comments tying the Jews to the Armenian Genocide, and various other historical events. His posts describe the, “international fat Jewish pockets,” of Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve. In another post Chikindas claims that “Israel… has one of the highest percentage of gays in the world,”
Though Chikindas has breviously worked with academic institutions that operate out of Israel, including doing agricultural research in conjunction with the Israeli government itself – it seems he abruptly ceased all contact with Israeli academic institutions in 2015. The academic even bragged that, “I am very proud saying that I ignore all of Israel’s academic requests to assist them professionally.”
Chikindas also serves as an external examiner and reviewer for the grants from the National Institutes of Health and the United States Department of Agriculture, as per his curriculum vitae.
Chikindas has repudiated charges of anti-Semitism, telling a Jewish newspaper the Algemeiner that he had ties to the Jewish community, including being of partial Jewish descent and fathering a child with a Jewish woman. Chikindas claimed that his posts reflected the racist content in the classic Jewish texts and negative comments that he himself has received from the Hebrew-language social media users.
Interestingly, Chikindas is an accomplished scientist, and as recently as last year he successfully applied for a $191,000 research grant. Over the course of his academic career – he has received almost $1 million to pursue agricultural research.
Rutgers responded to the controversy by noting that they are, “reviewing this matter to determine if actions taken in the context of his role as a faculty member at Rutgers may have violated that policy.”
While maintaining that Rutgers respects its own faculty’s right “to express their viewpoints in public forums as private citizens,” Buccino also said that the university “must also foster an environment free from discrimination, as articulated in our policy prohibiting discrimination.”
Chikindas’s “comments and posts on social media are antithetical to our university’s principles and values of respect for people of all backgrounds, including, among other groups, our large and vibrant Jewish community. Such comments do not represent the position of the university,” further added Buccino, clearing the university’s stance on the issue.