Cornell University Student in custody after allegedly posting anti-Semitic threats
ITHACA, NY (WENY) -- On Tuesday, October 31st Federal authorities arrested Cornell University Junior Patrick Dai for allegedly sending death threats and posting antisemitic thoughts on an online forum, targeting Jewish students at the Ivy League school. Twenty-one year-old Dai is a junior at Cornell studying engineering and he is originally from Pittsford, New York, a Rochester suburb.
Dai was arrested in Tompkins County; however, the Broome County Sheriff's Office has an agreement with the U.S. Marshall to "house federal inmates" in their facility including Mr. Dai.
"I think the abhorrent acts in the alleged crimes by Mr. Dai speak for themselves. I can't speak to the case we weren't part of the investigation," said Sheriff Akshar.
Authorities were able to trace the posts back to Dai just hours after New York Governor Kathy Hochul visited the private university to condemn the violence. When Hochul was on campus no arrests had been made at that time, as Dai was taken into custody later in the day. Sheriff Sheriff Akshar described the Dai's demeanor as somber when he was being processed.
"I think as is the case with most defendants when the gravity of one's actions or alleged actions hit them, it is a moment of pause for them," says Akshar.
Dai appeared in front of a federal judge in Syracuse, New York on Wednesday, November 1st; his next court appearance is set for later in the month. In the Ithaca neighborhood known as Collegetown, just over 24 hours after the arrest, students appeared to still be visibly shaken as they walked quickly without making eye contact with anyone.
The Center for Jewish Living at Cornell issued the following statement to WENY News, saying:
The Center for Jewish Living is relieved to hear that an arrest has been made in connection with the horrific antisemitic posts that threatened our complex. It deeply saddens and pains us to learn that the threats were made by a Cornell student, and that such hate exists amongst our peers. We firmly believe that if found guilty, this student must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There is no place for antisemitism anywhere in this world, and terrorizing actions must be punished.
While we are thankful this student is in custody, we understand that this incident does not stand alone. It represents the growing trend of rising antisemitism worldwide that we must continue to fight in all forms. As a community and as a people, we are proud to be Jewish. There will always be those who hate us, but as long as we come together in the face of adversity, we will persevere.
We want to thank the Cornell administration, Governor Kathy Hochul, state/local/Cornell police, the FBI, and Homeland Security for working diligently to protect our Jewish community. Their support ensures that every Jewish person can feel safe and accepted in our Cornell community.
Cornell University has made several statements since the posts on the website Greek Rank on Sunday, October 29th. In a prepared statement Wednesday afternoon, the University shared campus will be closed Friday, November 3rd for a community day. The message explained there will not be classes and only essential university employees will be required to work.