Top brass at Union College is facing outrage from students, faculty and alumni alike after an undergraduate said attendees of a recent a pro-Israel profit on the Latest York liberal arts school’s campus should “burn in hell.”
Ayah Osman, a junior at Union College, got into an altercation over the “atrocious” comment after being confronted by Stephen Berk, a professor of Holocaust and Jewish Studies at the school who questioned the scholar a few social media post.
In an Instagram Story, Osman said that everybody who attends a Bingo night on campus to “profit Israeli victims of terror” gets “a free guaranteed spot in hell.”
A clip of the heated exchange between Berk and Osman was posted to X by nonprofit watchdog StopAntisemitism. In it, Osman could be heard saying: “Professor, you called me a disgrace, but I believe it’s very vital to notice how irresponsible it was of you…to completely misrepresent what I said.”
“I never said that each one Jewish people should go to hell,” Osman added.
Berk replied: “I said that what you said what that folks who attended that rally should burn in hell. Do you stand by that?”
Union College student Ayah Osman is facing fierce backlash after posting this Instagram story, where she said that everybody who attends a Bingo night on campus to “profit Israeli victims of terror” gets “a free guaranteed spot in hell.”Change.org
“I do,” Osman said.
Berk told The Post that he believes Osman’s “really talking about all supporters of Israel.” He added that Osman’s “inflammatory” comments have made “Jewish students more nervous” on campus for the primary time within the 56 years he’s taught at the college.
“There’s been no rebuke of this [Osman’s] statement in any way,” Berk said. “What ought to be done is a public repudiation of what this young woman said and we now have yet to get that.”
Attempts to achieve Osman for comment weren’t immediately successful.
Union College President David Harris has yet to comment on Osman’s remarks or any displays of antisemitism on campus, including the pro-Palestine event that emeritus professor Tom Lobe hosted on Wednesday called the “Humanitarian Crisis in Palestine.”
“Hate – whether or not it’s antisemitism, Islamophobia or hatred toward another group of individuals – has no place at Union, and the College works day by day to combat hate through education and constructive dialogue,” a Union College spokesman said in a Thursday statement to The Post.
“The College has robust and well-established processes for investigating claims of bias and responds to each such allegation thoroughly,” the spokesman added. “Neither the existence of such investigations, nor the outcomes, are shared by the College in accordance with federal privacy laws.”
Andrew Sole, a hedge fund manager at Esopus Creek Advisors who graduated from Union College in 1986 and was a student of Prof. Berk, said he “is not going to consider donating a dime to Union, nor should other alums, until Harris resigns forthwith.”
Sole added that it was “revolting to look at this antisemite at Union attempt to impugn Prof. Berk and smear Jews.”
A Change.org petition that has gained 4,500 signatures has since called on Union College to expel Osman, who has “tarnished the inclusive image of our institution” together with her remarks and caused “distress among the many Jewish students on campus.”
“When questioned about her inflammatory remarks regarding attendees at an Israel-supporting rally…she showed no remorse or understanding for the harm she was causing,” the petition’s description reads.
Berk declined to comment on whether he agreed that Osman ought to be expelled — “that’s an administrative decision,” he said.
A Change.org petition demands that the liberal arts school in Schenectady, NY, expel Osman. It has nearly 4,500 signatures because it launched late last month.Change.org
Cigdem Cidam, an associate professor of political science at Union College, moderated the pro-Palestine event, in keeping with a post on an Instagram page for the college’s political science department.
Union College’s political science department has disabled comments on the post.
Ten student groups on campus sponsored and attended the one-day “presentation and discussion on the humanitarian crisis in Palestine,” the post said, including the Muslim Student Association (MSA), Black Student Union (BSU), Women’s U, MAMBA, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Asian Student Union (ASU), African Student Association (ASA), World Around U (international students association), Bhangra and Cricket Club.
Signatories to the change.org petition who commented under “reasons for signing,” included a person named Scott, who identified himself as a 2008 Union College “alumnus horrified by this breach within the code of conduct.”
The petition points to Osman’s Instagram page, which has since been taken private but still boasts a ten% off discount code for pro-Palestine apparel, including a shirt with the image of a Palestinian paragliding.Change.org
“Union graduate and donor. Halting my annual donations until this issue is satisfactorily addressed. Outrageous,” one other commenter by the name of Abh Mah said.
The net petition also pointed to Osman’s Instagram page where she goes by @TheSudaneseBarbie. The account had been taken private as of Thursday afternoon, but her profile still displayed a reduction code from The Pali Project.
The professional-Palestine apparel site displays images reminiscent of a person on a paraglide where the parachute resembles a Palestinian flag that claims: “Flying For Freedom.”
The image is seemingly a grave reference to the Tribe of Nova music festival on Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists paraglided across the Gaza Strip border and massacred a minimum of 260 people, kidnapping others.