A 21-year-old engineering student at Cornell University is in custody after allegedly posting violent threats against Jewish people on campus.
Alleged Online Threats According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, Patrick Dai, a junior at the school, reportedly posted messages to the Cornell section of an online forum “calling for the deaths of Jewish people.”
The Cornell Daily Sun reports that the posts appeared on Cornell’s Greekrank forums, a site about collegiate fraternities and sororities, on Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29. The site bans hate speech or any promotion of violence.
The Nature of Threats Dai allegedly wrote that he was “gonna shoot up 104 West,” referring to a dining hall on campus that offers kosher food next to the Cornell Jewish Center.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Dai allegedly wrote in another post that he was going to “stab” and “slit the throat” of Jewish males on campus. He also threatened to “rape and throw off a cliff any Jewish females,” as well as “behead any Jewish babies.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that in the same forum post, Dai said he planned to “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all you pig Jews.”
According to the Cornell Daily Sun, other antisemitic graffiti on campus included “Israel is fascist” and “Zionism = genocide.”
Arrest and Legal Action On Tuesday, Oct. 31, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Dai’s arrest on a federal criminal complaint, charging him with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications. Officials were able to locate Dai by tracking the IP address used when he created the posts, Syracuse.com reports.
Dai reportedly admitted to writing the threats. Many of his posts have since been taken down.
Additional security measures and law enforcement presence have been implemented on campus to provide enhanced protection for Jewish students and organizations, according to Syracuse.com.
In a statement obtained by the Cornell Daily Sun, Cornell University president and professor Martha Pollack said, “We will not tolerate antisemitism at Cornell.”
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul wrote in another statement, “Public safety is my top priority, and I’m committed to combatting hate and bias wherever it rears its ugly head.”
Dai appeared in federal court on Wednesday, Nov. 1, and was ordered to remain held in jail. He is set to appear in court again on Nov. 15 for his probable cause hearing.
Ongoing Fight Against Hate If convicted, Dai faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.
The indictment comes about two weeks after a man in Chicago was arrested for allegedly fatally stabbing a 6-year-old boy and injuring the child’s mother because they were Muslim. The Associated Press reports the suspect, Joseph Czuba, pleaded not guilty to hate crime charges.
The arrest of Patrick Dai at Cornell University serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges of combating hate speech and ensuring the safety and well-being of all students on college campuses. Campus security remains a critical concern, and universities across the country are actively working to address these issues and promote a culture of respect and tolerance.