By Vaughn Golden, Jorge Fitz-Gibbon and Katherine Donlevy
A 21-year-old student was arrested Tuesday for making “horrendous” anti-Jewish death threats at Cornell University that put the Ivy League campus on high alert over the weekend.
Patrick Dai, a junior majoring in engineering at the prestigious university, was named in a federal complaint charging him with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications — which could land him in jail for up to five years.
The Pittsford, New York, native was formally charged just hours after New York State Police troopers identified a person of interest over the online threats to “bring an assault rifle to campus.”
The disturbing messages, which came days after “F–k Israel” graffiti was scrawled on sidewalks at the upstate Ithaca campus, were revealed by university officials Sunday.
“The genocidal fascist zionist regime will be destroyed,” said one of the messages posted to a public school forum.
“Rape and kill all the jew women before they birth more Jewish hitlers.”
Dai allegedly threatened to “shoot up 104 West,” a university dining hall that caters predominantly to Kosher diets, and to “slit the throat” of any Jewish men he came across.
Joel Malina, Cornell’s vice president for university relations, confirmed in a statement Tuesday that a Cornell student was in custody, but did not name Dai.
“We remain shocked by and condemn these horrific, antisemitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We know that our campus community will continue to support one another in the days ahead,” Malina said, adding that the school will maintain its “heightened security presence on campus.”
Dai was interrogated hours before his arrest after state police identified a “person of interest” in the disturbing case, Gov. Kathy Hochul revealed on X.
“When I met with Cornell students yesterday I promised them we would do everything possible to find the perpetrator,” she added.
“Public safety is my top priority and I’m committed to combatting hate and bias wherever it rears its ugly head.”
A rep for the New York State Police referred questions to campus cops.
Pro-Palestinian unrest has surged at the state’s college campuses in the wake of the surprise attacks on Israel by radical Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 — and the subsequent counteroffensive in the Gaza Strip by the Jewish nation.
More than 1,400 Israelis, nearly all civilians, were killed in the sneak attack earlier this month by the terrorists, with more than 200 others kidnapped, including some Americans.
On Tuesday, Hochul tapped Jonathan Lippman, a former chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, to review the “policies and procedures related to antisemitism and discrimination at City University of New York campuses amid the unrest.
“The problem didn’t begin with the weeks following the Oct. 7 attacks,” Hochul said in making the announcement.
“It’s been growing on a number of campuses and seen most acutely in the City University of New York.