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Hochul meets with Cornell community after violent, antisemitic messages threaten Jewish students

October 30, 2023 - Ithaca, NY - Governor Kathy Hochul joins Cornell University President Martha Pollack for a visit with students at the Center for Jewish Living at Cornell.
Lindsay France
Cornell University
October 30, 2023 - Ithaca, NY - Governor Kathy Hochul joins Cornell University President Martha Pollack for a visit with students at the Center for Jewish Living at Cornell.

Update October 31, 2023 at 1:55 p.m.: Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday they have a suspect in custody.

“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. "Earlier today, law enforcement identified a person of interest as part of the investigation and this individual is currently in the custody of the New York State Police for questioning. Public safety is my top priority and I'm committed to combatting hate and bias wherever it rears its ugly head."
Cornell University is increasing security after a series of "horrendous, antisemitic messages" threatened violence against Jewish students.

Cornell President Martha Pollack said the messages threatened violence to the Jewish community and specifically named 104 West — the home of the Center for Jewish Living. She said they were posted on a website unaffiliated with the university.

"We will not tolerate antisemitism on this campus," Pollack said at a news conference Monday morning. "We will not tolerate hate crimes or threats of violence of any kind."

Read Pollack's message sent to the campus community Sunday evening here.

Gov. Kathy Hochul held a roundtable discussion with students Monday morning.

"No one should be afraid to walk from their dorm or their dining hall to a classroom," Hochul said. "That is a basic right that every New Yorker has outside of campus, but particularly on a campus, because these are young people who are in an environment that is intended to protect them as well, and their parents need to know this."

Campus, local and state police are involved and the FBI was notified of a potential hate crime.

"When there's an opportunity to identify the perpetrator, find out whether it violates the law, they will be prosecuted," Hochul said. "That is the message that people across the state need to hear loud and clear. There will be no tolerance here in the state of New York."

Earlier this year, Hochul announced $51 million in grants aimed at strengthening safety and security measures for organizations at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission.

Shawna Black, chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature, said the county condemns the posts.

"Antisemitism, violent threats, and hate speech of any kind are intolerable," Black said. "All students in our community deserve safe learning and living environments regardless of ethnicity or creed. Targeted threats toward Jewish students are unacceptable and cruel. Tompkins County commends the law enforcement agencies working diligently to keep people safe and to investigate these threats of violence."

Anyone with information about the threats is asked to contact the Cornell Police at 607-255-1111.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.