April 13, 2024
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Cornell Jewish Community Unites as Antisemitic Assailant Arrested

On the same day that a Cornell University student was to appear in federal court on charges that he threatened to kill Jewish students at the school and shoot up the kosher dining hall, the Jewish community in Ithaca and at Cornell was expected to hold a “community gathering for comfort, healing and solidarity.”

The solidarity event was scheduled for the evening of Nov. 1, while a planned Unity Shabbat for students is scheduled for Nov. 3. The latter event is expected to be held at the kosher dining hall, 104 West, and is being sponsored by the Cornell Center of Jewish Life, Cornellians for Israel and the Cornell Hillel.

A criminal complaint filed on Oct. 31 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York alleges that 21-year-old Patrick Dai, a junior at Cornell from Pittsford, New York, called for the death of Jews and posted online that he was going to “shoot up” 104 West, where the kosher dining hall at Cornell University is located.

It went on to say that in another post “Dai allegedly threatened to ‘stab’ and ‘slit the throat’ of any Jewish males he sees on campus, to rape and throw off a cliff any Jewish females, and to behead any Jewish babies. In that same post, Dai threatened to ‘bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all you pig jews.’”

Cornell University Vice President for University Relations Joel M. Malina issued a statement praising law enforcement for their “swift” work in apprehending a suspect.

“We remain shocked by and condemn these horrific, antisemitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Malina said. “We know that our campus community will continue to support one another in the days ahead.”

Dai’s arrest came less than 24 hours after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul met with Jewish students at Cornell University. In a statement, the governor said, “Public safety is my top priority and I’m committed to combating hate and bias wherever it rears its ugly head.”

If found guilty, Dai faces a maximum term of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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