Vicious Antisemitic Posts Prompt Cornell University to Dispatch Police to Jewish Center
The online threats were so vicious that Cornell University advised its Jewish community to avoid the school’s kosher dining hall.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 1, 2023:
The person who has been arrested in connection with the violent antisemitic online threats made against Jewish Cornell University students has been identified as Patrick Dai, 21, reports BBC News. Dai is a junior at Cornell and has been charged by the FBI with posting the threats. If convicted, he faces a five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000, reports ABC News.
UPDATE: A person of interest is in custody in connection with the antisemitic threats made against Jewish Cornell University students this past weekend. The announcement was made by New York Governor Kathy Hochul in a statement Tuesday afternoon. The person is being questioned by New York State Police.
ORIGINAL OCTOBER 31, 2023 ARTICLE:
ITHACA, N.Y. — Several antisemitic threats made online over the weekend against Cornell University’s Jewish community are being investigated by campus police.
The threats, which mentioned a specific location, were so vicious that the school advised its Jewish students to avoid Cornell’s kosher dining hall, reports the Times of Israel. Campus police were dispatched to the building to protect the Jewish community.
The online threats were posted on Saturday and Sunday and included threats to shoot, kill, and rape Jewish students at the school’s Center for Jewish Living, reports CNN and the Times of Israel. The violent posts were made on Greekrank, which isn’t affiliated with Cornell, but ranks college fraternities and sororities.
The posts were denounced by Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack.
“Threats of violence are absolutely intolerable, and we will work to ensure that the person or people who posted them are punished to the full extent of the law,” Pollack said in a statement. “Our immediate focus is on keeping the community safe; we will continue to prioritize that.”
The FBI has been notified of the threats, which are being investigated as possible hate crimes.
The threats at Cornell University come as both Jewish and Muslim civil rights groups report that since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, both groups have seen a large increase in reports of harassment of their communities, reports ABC News.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said it received 774 reports of bias-related acts between Oct. 7 and Oct. 24. The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism recorded at least 312 reports of antisemitic acts between Oct. 7 and Oct. 23.
In response to the alarming increase in antisemitic incidents on college campuses, the Biden administration on Monday said the departments of Justice and Homeland Security will partner with campus public safety departments to track hate-related online speech and provide resources to schools, reports NBC News. In part, a White House official said DHS and DOJ “have disseminated public safety information to and hosted multiple calls with campus law enforcement, as well as state, local, tribal and territorial officials to address the threat environment and share information about available resources.”
The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is also updating its complaint form, making it clear that certain forms of antisemitism and Islamophobia are prohibited under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For the first time, the complaint form will make clear that “discrimination on the basis of national origin in federally funded programs or activities – including ethnic or ancestral slurs or stereotypes against students who are for example Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, or Hindu — are forms of prohibited discrimination under this law,” the White House official said.
Additionally, New York Governor Kathy Hochul met with Jewish Cornell students on Monday, vowing to prosecute the perpetrators if they are found, reports USA Today. She said state police have already increased security at colleges in the state and that the increased security will continue in the upcoming weeks.
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