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Cornell junior charged with antisemitic death threats that shut Hillel

Patrick Dai faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The Cornell Center for Jewish Living at 106 West Ave., with the adjacent 104 West Ave., in Ithaca, N.Y. Source: Google Street View.
The Cornell Center for Jewish Living at 106 West Ave., with the adjacent 104 West Ave., in Ithaca, N.Y. Source: Google Street View.

Patrick Dai, 21, a junior at Cornell University from Pittsford, N.Y., was arrested on Tuesday “on a federal criminal complaint charging him with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications,” according to a joint statement of the U.S. Justice Department, FBI, N.Y. State Police and Cornell Police.

Dai is charged with posting antisemitic death threats, including that he was “gonna shoot up 104 West,” on an online message board. The address is a reference to the building on campus that houses the kosher dining hall. The university’s Hillel advised students to stay away from the building on Sunday. The university has not responded to questions from JNS about whether it also advised students to avoid the kosher dining hall on Sunday.

Dai allegedly also threatened to “stab” and “slit the throat” of any Jewish men he saw on campus, to rape and throw off a cliff any Jewish women and to behead Jewish babies and to “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all you pig Jews,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.

If convicted, Dai could face up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. He is expected to appear in federal court in Syracuse, N.Y., on Wednesday.

Dai “is in severe depression. He cannot control his emotion well due to the depression,” his father told The New York Post, adding, “No, I don’t think he committed the crime.” He also told the paper that Dai’s mother drove 80 miles to campus, fearing that Dai was suicidal, only to find that he had already been arrested.

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