Asian Cornell student arrested for death threats against Jewish students

21-year-old Patrick Dai, a junior at the university who previously worked as a safety officer, was arrested and charged.

On Tuesday, federal authorities arrested a Cornell University student for allegedly making violent threats against Jewish students

21-year-old engineering student Patrick Dai, a junior at the university, is charged with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

He is scheduled to appear in federal court on Wednesday.

Dai’s LinkedIn account states that he worked as a safety officer for the Science Olympiad at Cornell between October 2020 and April 2021, as well as an orientation supervisor with Cornell Campus Engagement between March 2021 and February 2022.

Threats calling for Jews to be followed home and to "slit their throats" were posted to a website targeting “104 West,” the location of the Center of Jewish Living on campus.

The threats were made under pseudonyms including “hamas,” “jew evil,” “jew jenocide,” “hamas warrior” and “kill jews," stating that “Rats need to be eliminated from Cornell," “jewish people need to be killed,” “eliminate jewish living from cornell campus” and “gonna shoot up 104 west.”

Other posts threatened: “If i see a pig male jew i will stab you and slit your throat,” and “If i see another pig female jew i will drag you away and ràpe you and throw you off a cliff. if i see another pig baby jew i will behead you in front of your parents.”

According to a federal complaint obtained by NBC, investigators traced the posts to Dai’s IP address at his off-campus apartment, where he allegedly admitted to writing the posts.

Ethan Oliner, a student at Cornell, wrote in an op-ed for The New York Post, “We students are scared. Scared for our lives. Scared to go to class. Scared to sleep in our own beds.” 

“We had to cancel prayer services Sunday evening out of fear of our lives. This is unprecedented at Cornell. My friends who live in the Center for Jewish Living slept elsewhere Sunday night, as they were terrified of being attacked in their sleep. All because they are Jewish.”

Oliner continued, “The notion that Jews are wary of displaying their symbols of faith and pride in 2023 should raise alarm everywhere. The Jews in the 1930s tried to hide themselves; the Jews of 2023 should not, especially in America, where we are supposed to enjoy freedom of expression and religion just like anyone else.”

He added, “Even though people are distressed, and rightly so, we cannot and will not live in constant fear. The famous line from Menachem Begin, former prime minister of Israel, resonates with us now more than ever: ‘I am not a Jew with trembling knees.’” 

Dai’s parents blamed “severe depression” for their son’s changed behavior.

According to The New York Post, Dai began his time at Cornell as one of five National Merit Scholars from Pittsford-Mendon High School and a 12-time AP Scholar who volunteered at Rochester General Hospital. He worked as an undergraduate consultant and tutored other engineering students in computer programming language.
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