A Cornell University student was arrested Tuesday and accused of posting threatening statements online about the school’s Jewish students, law enforcement said.
Patrick Dai, 21, a youth from Pittsford, New York, is charged in a federal criminal complaint with posting threats to kill or harm others using interstate communications, according to a joint statement from the Office of the U.S. Attorney, FBI, New York State Police and Cornell University Police.
It was not immediately clear whether Dai had retained a lawyer. The federal courts website had not yet been updated with the case. Dai did not respond to a Facebook message and his Cornell email address could not immediately be accessed.
The charge carries a possible sentence of five years in prison, authorities said.
THE threatening messages, posted this weekend on a forum about fraternities and sororities, alarmed students at the Ivy League school in upstate New York. The anonymous threats came amid a surge in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim rhetoric appearing on social media during the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
Dai is scheduled to appear Wednesday in federal court in Syracuse, New York, before a U.S. magistrate judge.
Joel M. Malina, vice president for university relations at Cornell University, said the school was grateful for the FBI’s quick work.
“We remain shocked and condemn these horrific anti-Semitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Malina said in a statement. “We know that our university community will continue to support each other in the days to come. »
The comments this weekend were posted on a Greek life website that is not affiliated with the school in Ithaca, New York, about 365 miles northwest of New York.
Dai’s threatening messages included messages calling for the deaths of Jews and a message threatening to “shoot up 104 West,” a dining hall at Cornell University that primarily serves kosher diets and is located next to the Jewish Center from Cornell, according to the complaint. .
The messages threatened to “stab” and “cut the throat” of any Jewish man he saw on campus, rape and throw off a cliff any Jewish woman and decapitate any Jewish baby, according to the complaint. In that same message, Dai threatened to “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all the Jewish pigs,” authorities said.
The Cornell University Police Department responded by increasing patrols and providing additional security for students and Jewish organizations. On Monday, a state police cruiser was parked on the street in front of the Center for Jewish Life.
The threats also prompted New York Governor Kathy Hochul to visit campus.
“Public safety is my top priority and I am committed to fighting hatred and prejudice wherever it rears its head. » Hochul said in a statement before the arrests Tuesday.