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Cornell University confirmed on Tuesday that authorities identified and placed a suspect in custody for allegedly threatening extreme violence against Jewish students on a website unaffiliated with the upstate New York Ivy League school last weekend.
“We can confirm that a subject has been identified as a suspect in the antisemitic threats made against our Jewish students on Sunday and is currently in custody,” Joel M. Malina, vice president for university relations, told The Daily Wire in an emailed statement. “We thank the FBI and other law enforcement agencies for their coordination. We will update the public as we have further details to release.”
Jewish students on the university’s campus in Ithaca, New York, were put on high alert on Sunday night after at least six screenshots allegedly taken from the Greek Rank website displayed online threats from anonymous users who said “‘israel’ deserved 10/7” and “eliminate jewish living from cornell campus” to another user who claimed they would “shoot up 104 west.”
Cornell Hillel, a chapter of the self-described largest Jewish campus organization in the world, warned on social media for students and staff to avoid the 104 West building, which is home to the university’s Kosher Dining Hall and nearby the Center for Jewish Living, following the online threats.
“The Cornell University administration has been made aware of this concerning language, and the Cornell Police Department is monitoring the situation and is on site at 104West to provide additional security as a precaution,” officials for the group wrote in a statement.
According to the organization’s website, approximately 3,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate Jewish students attend Cornell, comprising 22% of the student body.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Tuesday that state police had questioned “a person of interest” as part of the investigation.
“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,” Hochul said in a news release.
Hochul added, “Public safety is my top priority and I’m committed to combatting hate and bias wherever it rears its ugly head.”
Threats against Jewish communities in the U.S. continue to rise after the Israel-Hamas war entered its fourth week over the weekend, which has sparked a wave of anti-Semitism from supporters of Hamas.
Preliminary data reported by the Anti-Defamation League last Tuesday showed incidents of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism, and assault increased by nearly 400% since Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,400 people on October 7.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in testimony during a Senate hearing Tuesday that the Jewish community has been “targeted by terrorists really across the spectrum,” including “homegrown violent extremists” and “foreign terrorist organizations.” The anti-Semitic threats are reaching “historic levels” inside the U.S., he said.
Federal authorities became aware of the incident at Cornell University after school officials notified the FBI of a potential hate crime.
“We take all threats seriously and are working closely with Cornell and our law enforcement partners at every level to determine the credibility, share information, and take appropriate investigative action,” a spokesperson from the FBI told The Daily Wire in a statement. “We encourage members of the public to immediately report anything they consider suspicious to law enforcement. Nothing is more important than the safety of our communities and we will not tolerate violence motivated by hate and extremism.”