Cornell University: Person in custody following series of antisemitic threats made against
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The Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.
A person is in custody in connection with a series of antisemitic online threats made against Cornell University’s Jewish community, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement Tuesday, two days after the messages first surfaced.
“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,” Hochul said in Tuesday’s statement, noting she had promised Cornell students the state “would do everything possible to find the perpetrator who threatened a mass shooting and antisemitic violence on campus.”
“Public safety is my top priority,” the governor said, “and I’m committed to combatting hate and bias wherever it rears its ugly head.”
The online messages came to light Sunday and included threats to shoot Jewish students at the 104 West building, which houses their kosher dining hall, and messaging encouraging others to harm Jews, according to the school’s student newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun.
“Evidence suggests the targeted locations were intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias,” the Cornell University Police Department said in a statement. The department increased patrols and added security for Jewish students and organizations.
The threats emerged as tensions rise on college campuses in light of the war between Israel and Hamas. Students at many universities have engaged in protests while some administrators – like those at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania – grapple with acknowledging students’ wide-ranging concerns while fielding backlash from influential donors, demanding the schools take a clearer stance on the conflict.
There are about 3,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate Jewish students at Cornell, and they comprise about 22% of the student body, according to the school’s Hillel organization, which had warned students and staff Sunday evening to avoid 104 West “out of an abundance of caution.”