Cornell student arrested in connection with antisemitic threats

November 1, 2023

A 21-year-old student at Cornell University has been arrested and slapped with federal charges following social media posts threatening violence against Jewish students.

Patrick Dai, a junior at the Ivy League university in Ithaca, New York, has been charged by the FBI with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications.

The posts he is alleged to have written included threats to shoot Jewish students at the building that houses their kosher dining hall. Other messaging encouraged the harming of Jews.

The threats were among the latest examples of rising tensions on U.S. college campuses amid the Israel-Hamas war, sparked by the terrorist organization’s massive October 7 surprise attack on Israel.

“Muslim students are walking around scared, just like the Jewish students are walking around scared,”Rabbi Esther Reed of Rutgers University said earlier this week.

On Monday, the Biden Administration unveiled new actions to combat antisemitism on college campuses, with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security partnering with campus law enforcement to track hate-related rhetoric online and provide federal resources to schools.

On Tuesday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) also warned of rising antisemitism on college campuses throughout the state, citing threats not just linked to Cornell but also to the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City.

Dai, who remains in custody, has not yet entered a plea on the charges against him. If he’s found guilty and convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of New York. 

“We remain shocked by and condemn these horrific, anti-semitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Cornell University spokesperson Joel Malina, said in a statement, adding that Cornell Police would “maintain its heightened security presence on campus.”

PHOTO: Cornell University

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