Columbia University President Appears to Dismiss Altered Language, Faces Inquiry into Antisemitism Response

During a hearing before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Columbia University President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik seemed to make light of altered language found in university materials, prompting scrutiny from Republican Indiana Representative Jim Banks.

Shafik appeared before the committee as part of an investigation into the university’s response to antisemitism, as reported by NBC News. When questioned by Banks about Columbia University materials misspelling the word “folks,” Shafik appeared to jest, suggesting, “They don’t know how to spell.”

Banks inquired, “Can you explain why the word ‘folks’ is spelled ‘f-o-l-x’ throughout this guidebook and in other places at the school’s social work?” Shafik responded, “They don’t know how to spell? I mean, I’m not familiar with that spelling.”

Banks expressed concern, stating, “I don’t find it a laughing matter.” Shafik clarified that she was not laughing and indicated that she was unaware of the spelling.

Banks pressed further, highlighting that the materials were distributed to all students and accusing Shafik of failing to address the issue. Shafik maintained that the materials were not an official product of the administration.

When asked if the altered spelling of “folks” was standard at Columbia University, Shafik denied it. The addition of an “x” to the end of the word, as seen in “folx,” is often associated with efforts by liberals to include and recognize LGBTQ individuals, a practice known as “queerification.”

Similarly, the term “Latinx” was introduced by liberals to be more inclusive than “Latino” or “Latina,” but President Joe Biden has shifted away from using “Latinx” in favor of “Latino” amid challenges in gaining Hispanic support for his reelection campaign.

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