Cornell University administrators dispatched campus police to a Jewish center after threatening statements appeared on a discussion board Sunday.
Cornell President Martha E. Pollack issued a statement explaining there were a series of “horrendous, antisemitic messages” threatening violence against the university’s Jewish community, specifically naming the address of the Center for Jewish Living.
“Threats of violence are absolutely intolerable, and we will work to ensure that the person or people who posted them are punished to the full extent of the law,” Pollack said. “Our immediate focus is on keeping the community safe; we will continue to prioritize that.”
The Cornell University Police Department is investigating and has notified the FBI of a potential hate crime, she said.
Pollack said the website was not affiliated with the school in Ithaca, New York, about 227 miles (365 kilometers) northwest of New York City.
“The virulence and destructiveness of antisemitism is real and deeply impacting our Jewish students, faculty and staff, as well as the entire Cornell community,” Pollack said, noting antisemitism will not be tolerated at Cornell.
The content of the online threats appeared to be instigated by the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and sent chills through Cornell’s Jewish community during the third week of the conflict in the Gaza Strip.
The menacing posts drew a swift rebuke from state officials.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul posted a message on X, formerly Twitter, calling the “disgusting & hateful posts” the latest in a series of concerning events on college campuses. The New York State Police is taking steps to ensure student safety, although she said it was not immediately clear if the threats were credible.
Hochul said she spoke with university leaders across the state to assure them law enforcement and the state government will continue to support efforts to keep students and campus communities safe.
“I also reiterated our strong belief in free speech and the right to peaceful assembly, but made clear that we will have zero tolerance for acts of violence or those who intimidate and harass others through words or actions,” Hochul said in her post.
New York Attorney General Letitia James called the threats targeting the Jewish community “absolutely horrific.”
“There is no space for antisemitism or violence of any kind. Campuses must remain safe spaces for our students,” she wrote in a post on X.