A Cornell University student who allegedly made online posts threatening Jewish students at the university was arrested and charged by law enforcement authorities on Tuesday, amid concerns about rising antisemitic behavior on the backdrop of the war between Israel and Hamas.
Patrick Dai, 21, a junior-year engineering student from Pittsford, New York, has been charged with “posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of New York, said in a statement.
Dai allegedly posted a message on Greekrank—an online forum that focuses on fraternities and Greek life on campuses—titled “gonna shoot up 104 west”—a dining hall that serves kosher meals and is located near the Cornell Jewish Center.
The arrested student will appear before a federal court in Syracuse on Wednesday, the attorney’s office said.
If found guilty, Dai could face up to a five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with campus and local law enforcement authorities.
Commenting on the arrest, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said: “When I met with Cornell students yesterday, I promised them New York State would do everything possible to find the perpetrator who threatened a mass shooting and antisemitic violence on campus. Earlier today, law enforcement identified a person of interest as part of the investigation and this individual is currently in the custody of the New York State Police for questioning.”
According to the Cornell Daily Sun, the threatening posts were made over the weekend on Greekrank, threatening to slit the throats of and rape Jewish students. The posts included racial slurs against Jews and included references to the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel. The outlet also noted that several derogatory posts targeting Muslims on campus were also made on the forum. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul visited the campus after the threats and said “threats or hatred or antisemitism” would not be tolerated.
Posts Online Threaten Jewish Students and Center for Jewish Living (Cornell Daily Sun)