A Romania-born professor who fled his communist country says he recently left a tenured position at Columbia University because the school is “on its way toward full blown communism.”
Andrei Serban, an award-winning director and professor in Columbia’s theater department, complained about growing social justice demands in his department in an interview aired on Romania’s TVR1 in October.
The interview was translated for The College Fix by Andy Ionescu, a native Romanian speaker who immigrated to the U.S. in 1999.
In the interview, Serban expressed frustration at growing social justice demands, including pressure to admit a transgender applicant who auditioned as Juliet from “Romeo and Juliet” and to hire candidates who were not white or straight, even if they were less qualified.
It is likely the interview is the first time Serban made his resignation publicly known, as Columbia still lists Serban as an active professor.
Serban, the director of a hiring committee seeking to replace a retired professor, says that the dean of the art school told the committee that there were “too many white professors, too many heterosexual men” and that they should hire a minority, a woman, or a gay man.
Serban says that when he asked if they should choose a straight, white male if he were the most qualified candidate, he was told no.
“I felt like I was living under communism again,” he said. Serban fled communism, which ruled Romania for much of the 20th century.
Serban also said a transgender student auditioned with Juliet’s monologue from “Romeo and Juliet.” Serban said he could not believe the student could become Juliet and his colleagues expressed displeasure with him.
The professor then resigned, saying he could not violate his principles.