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ASU postdoctoral researcher identified in viral video intimidating two people during protest

ASU student organizations call for employment termination of Jonathan Yudelman after he appeared to harass a woman in a hijab and a counter-protester during pro-Israel rally


Pro-Israel protesters at University Drive and College Avenue on Sunday, May 5, 2024 in Tempe.

An ASU postdoctoral researcher was identified and accused of intimidating two people across the street from a pro-Israel rally in a viral social media video.

Jonathan Yudelman was identified on multiple social media platforms on May 6, a day after the rally. He is a postdoctoral researcher at ASU in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

The video shows Yudelman and another man shouting and physically intimidating a woman in a hijab and another counter-protester on the corner of University Drive and College Avenue. In the video, Yudelman says, "you disrespect my sense of humanity b----" after the woman said he was not respecting her "religious boundaries."

Yudelman and the other man, identified on social media as Sammy Ben, were seen walking toward the woman in a hijab as she walks backward with her hands up. They walked at her until she hit the edge of the curb, narrowly avoiding the street. She then walked around a group of people — a mix of protesters and counter-protesters — and back toward her bike next to a street pole.

The events preceding the video are currently unknown, as is the identity of the two people who were harassed. The video was captured at a pro-Israel rally that occurred on May 5. A State Press reporter also witnessed the events unfold, confirming the accuracy of the video.

Though this corner of University Drive and College Avenue is technically Tempe PD's jurisdiction, ASU PD is allowed to jointly patrol the area due to its proximity to campus, as agreed upon by both departments.

"Either department can respond to an incident there," said to an ASU Police spokesperson. "Anyone wishing to file a complaint can do so with either department."

According to an ASU spokesperson, "ASU is aware of the allegations against Jonathan Yudelman and is investigating them. Dr. Yudelman is on leave and will remain so pending the outcome of the investigation."

The University has not responded to a request for comment on who is conducting the investigation and what violations of conduct he is being investigated for.

The ASU Academic Affairs Manual states, "ASU expressly prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by employees, students, contractors, or agents of the university based on any protected status."

The University defines harassment as "unwelcome behavior, based on a protected status, which is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment."

ASU's Academic Affairs Manual outlines that the conditions of postdoctoral scholar service fall under the Arizona Board of Regents' policy. ABOR also has a manual that prohibits harassment, discrimination and retaliation, defining harassment the same way.

ASU postdoctoral student Jonathan Yudelman (left) alongside Sammy Ben speaking with two people during a pro-Israel rally at University Drive and College Avenue on Sunday, May 5, 2024 in Tempe.

Yudelman is also currently a postdoctoral scholar at Harvard University and an associate professor at the University of Austin. UATX is an unaccredited school with an inaugural class starting in Fall 2024.

At ASU, Yudelman has taught two courses in his time as a postdoctoral scholar. In Spring 2024 he taught a Great Debates in American Politics course. In Fall 2023, he taught a Great Ideas of Politics and Ethics course. According to the class description, this class introduced students to political thinking through, "ancient, medieval and modern thinkers in the Greek, Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions."

A joint statement was released today from several student groups that call for Yudelman to be removed from his position at ASU. The statement was signed by 25 student organizations including Rainbow Coalition, Asian/Asian Pacific American Students' Coalition and the Black Student Association at Barrett

According to ABOR's Conditions of Postdoctoral Service policy, one can be dismissed for "just cause during the appointment period for poor performance, work related misconduct, violation of board or university policies, or other serious reason as determined by the supervising faculty member."

"Yudelman's behavior is deeply troubling," said the student organizations in the joint statement. "This man cannot be trusted and should not be employed by ASU as his mockery of their hijabs calls into question his ability to teach at an institution that prides itself on promoting diversity and inclusivity."

Among the demands in this statement, they call for the removal of the suspension for students who were arrested at the pro-Palestine encampment on April 26 and 27. Multiple other social media posts from non- ASU groups call upon the local community to contact the University for his removal.

In a press release today, the Arizona branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations also called for Yudelman to be arrested and terminated from his position at ASU. 

Yudelman has not responded to a request for comment at this time.

Edited by Abigail Beck and Alexis Heichman

Editor's note: This story was updated at 11:57 to include a statement from an ASU Police spokesperson. This is a developing story and may be updated.

Reach the reporter at and Follow @nerdyoso and @alexis_heichman on X. 

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Alexis HeichmanMultimedia Director

Alexis Heichman leads the Multimedia Department of the State Press. She is a student studying at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.

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