Authorities arrested a 21-year-old student at Cornell University on Tuesday on charges he made antisemitic threats against Jewish students.
The Justice Department said Patrick Dai, a junior at Cornell, had been charged with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications. Officials alleged Dai posted on an online discussion site threatening to “shoot up” a dining hall on campus that caters mostly to students who eat a Kosher diet.
In another post, Dai allegedly threatened to “stab” and “slit the throat” of any Jewish men he saw on campus. He is also accused of making extremely graphic threats toward Jewish women and children.
The dining hall is next to the school’s Center for Jewish Living. Police have been stationed at the facility 24/7 amid the threats.
“No one should be afraid to walk from their dorm or their dining hall to a classroom,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said during a visit to the school this week. “When speech crosses over into hate speech and into hate crimes, that’s when we have to make sure that students know that we’ll step up and protect them.”
Dai faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted. He is expected to appear in federal court in Syracuse, New York, on Wednesday.
The Cornell student body has been on edge for days after a series of anonymous messages were posted in an online forum, part of a surge in antisemitic comments nationwide. Those statements — which have also targeted Muslim communities — come during the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
“The virulence and destructiveness of antisemitism is real and deeply impacting our Jewish students, faculty and staff, as well as the entire Cornell community,” Cornell President Martha Pollack said in a statement this week.