Cornell University’s Jewish students were on lockdown on Friday after a series of antisemitic threats were posted on a Greek life website by anonymous users. The threats included calls for violence, rape, and murder of Jewish students, as well as a specific threat to shoot up the kosher dining hall at 104 West.
The Cornell Hillel advised students and staff to avoid the building and the Cornell Police Department was on site to provide security. The police said they were investigating the threats and working with law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute the perpetrators.
The Cornell University president, Martha E. Pollack, condemned the threats as “hateful and reprehensible” and said the university was working to ensure the safety and well-being of the Jewish community. She also urged the campus community to stand together against antisemitism and bigotry.
“We are outraged and horrified by these threats of violence against members of our community. There is no place for hate at Cornell,” Pollack said in a statement.
The threats came amid a hostile campus environment that Jewish students have faced since the Hamas invasion of Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza earlier this year. The conflict sparked protests and counter-protests on campus, as well as incidents of harassment, vandalism, and intimidation targeting Jewish students and symbols.
“It’s terrifying. I don’t feel safe on campus. I don’t know who is behind this and what they are capable of,” said Rachel Cohen, a sophomore majoring in government and Jewish studies.
Many Jewish students expressed frustration and disappointment with the university’s response to the antisemitic incidents, saying it was inadequate and delayed. They also called for more support and resources from the administration, faculty, and staff.
“These threats are not only an attack on the Jewish community, but on the values of diversity and inclusion that Cornell stands for,” said Ryan Lombardi, Cornell vice president for student and campus life.
Several campus organizations and groups issued statements of solidarity with the Jewish students, condemning the antisemitic threats and calling for justice and accountability. The Cornell Interfraternity Council said it was “deeply disturbed” by the threats and urged its members to report any suspicious activity or information.
“We stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters at Cornell. We condemn all forms of antisemitism and bigotry. We call for justice and accountability for those responsible,” the council said in a statement.
– ‘Gonna shoot up’: Cornell University’s Jewish students on lockdown after threat, The Jerusalem Post, October 29, 2023
– Antisemitic threats to our community | University Statements | Cornell University, Cornell University, October 29, 2023
– Cornell University police investigating online threats against Jewish students, president says, CNN, October 29, 2023
– Cornell University president says series of posts threatened school’s Jewish community, ABC7NY, October 29, 2023