Opponent denounces Omar for joining Columbia protests, U of M demonstrations escalate

In response, the University of Minnesota announced that several buildings on campus would close at 2 p.m. on Monday.

Rep. Ilhan Omar visited protesters at Columbia University last week. (Fox News/X)

Congressional candidate Don Samuels denounced Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for joining protests at Columbia University related to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Running to replace the third-term congresswoman, Samuels also called on “university and municipal leaders” to ensure “the safety of our students.”

In recent days, protesters demanding that Columbia University divest from Israel established an encampment on school grounds and effectively took over the university’s campus. The protests have gone on for days, and many have been arrested. Protests related to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East have also occurred at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus.

Rep. Omar has joined both protests. First, speaking to demonstrators at the University of Minnesota, then, flying to Columbia University in New York to join protesters. Among the Columbia protesters is the congresswoman’s daughter, who is a student at the university.

According to Samuels’ press release, Rep. Omar went to Columbia University and “embraced a student protest leader who recently made statements such as ‘Zionists don’t deserve to live.’ And ‘I feel very comfortable, very comfortable, calling for those people to die.’ At another demonstration, Representative Omar inflamed sentiment by categorizing Jewish students into two groups, ‘pro-genocide’ or ‘anti-genocide.'”

Samuels, a Democrat, is currently in his second congressional contest against Rep. Omar. Having previously lost the Democratic nomination for the Minneapolis-area district to Omar in 2022, Samuels is a former member of the Minneapolis City Council who has spent several years in left-wing politics.

“We need elected leaders who are working to find peace instead of exploiting volatility and division for their own purposes,” said Samuels. “What we don’t need are elected leaders who run with kerosene and matches to every location where they see kindling and cameras.”

Just days ago, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., sent a letter to the interim president of the University of Minnesota seeking answers on “the safety of Jewish students” following demonstrations at the Twin Cities campus. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Majority Whip Emmer described Omar’s remarks at the University of Minnesota demonstrations as a “total embrace and encouragement of pro-terrorist, antisemitic protests.”

Protests at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus continued on Monday. Social media posts from UMN Students for Climate Justice and UMN Divest indicated that protesters were preparing to set up an encampment on school grounds. In response, the University of Minnesota announced that several buildings on campus would close at 2 p.m. on Monday.

“Classes scheduled in the affected buildings after 2 p.m. should be moved to remote delivery or rescheduled to another location,” the university said in a message.

Last week, Alpha News reported that nine people were arrested at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus after attempting to set up an encampment on school grounds in violation of university policy. Six of those nine individuals were current students, another was a staff member. Initially banned from returning to campus, the current students and staff member eventually saw their trespassing bans retracted by the university.

However, the University of Minnesota did indicate that other institutional consequences may follow for the arrested students and staffer.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.