update deskSchools & Higher Education

University of Pittsburgh to review professor’s alleged bias towards student

“We are pleased that the administration has responded and is looking into our complaint,” said Julie Paris, StandWithUs Mid-Atlantic regional director.

Varsity Walk at the University of Pittsburgh. Credit: Christopher Lancaster via Wikimedia Commons.
Varsity Walk at the University of Pittsburgh. Credit: Christopher Lancaster via Wikimedia Commons.

StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department and StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism (divisions of the nonprofit Israel education organization StandWithUs) sent a letter to Joan Gabel, chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh, expressing concern for an incident against a Jewish student alleged to have occurred on April 4.

According to the letter, Alexandra Weiner, a professor in the Department of Mathematics who identifies as Jewish, spoke with an unnamed student who participated in a Chabad tabling session.

Weiner accused the student of saying to her in Hebrew, “Go die in Gaza.”

The student reportedly corrected that, saying she said, “You’re Jewish? Go to Gaza, and you’ll see what will happen.”

Other students who witnessed the exchange reported that Weiner started talking about Israel’s war in Gaza, saying that she supported “the liberation of Palestine through armed resistance against all of Israel by any means necessary”; denying that Hamas terrorists raped women during its murder rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7; and that she “supports the killing of any Israeli or Zionist colonialist.”

In SWU’s letter, the group said Weiner “has abused her position as a faculty member to propagate hateful views on a controversial topic that has no relevancy to her academic discipline, and in a manner that harassed and targeted a student based on religion in violation of school policies and applicable law.”

SWU noted that the student filed a complaint alleging bias.

“We request that you investigate this matter immediately and thoroughly per the complaint filed with your administration by the targeted student, and institute the proper remedy as per institutional rules and employment policies,” the letter asked. ”At the very least, Professor Weiner should be removed from the classroom pending the outcome of an investigation, and then face an investigation and repercussions for her antisemitic conduct.”

Gabel answered SWU, confirming receipt of the letter and the university’s intent to investigate.

“We are pleased that the Pitt administration has responded and is looking into our complaint,” Julie Paris, StandWithUs Mid-Atlantic regional director, told JNS.

“During this divisive time, far too many faculty members have participated in escalating the division on their campuses,” Paris said. “Many have aligned themselves with dangerous racist propaganda being promoted by anti-Israel groups that support the genocidal ideology of Hamas, spreading this information in their classrooms while demonizing and attacking Jewish and Zionist students with whom they disagree.”

Chuck Finder, Pitt’s senior director of media relations, told JNS that “the university has shared the letter with the appropriate offices, which are aware and are looking into the matter.”

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