Saturday, July 13

Hochul Visits Cornell to Reassure Jewish Students Rattled by Online Threats

In the wake of online posts threatening violence against Jewish students and institutions at Cornell University, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday visited the campus in Ithaca, N.Y., to condemn the posts as hate speech and lay out the steps her administration is taking to help keep students safe.

“We will not tolerate threats or hatred or antisemitism,” Ms. Hochul said during a morning visit to the Cornell Center for Jewish Living, which was specifically singled out for destruction in the posts. “If you’re going to engage in these harmful actions, hate crimes, breaking our laws, you will be caught, and you will be prosecuted.”

The threats were made on a website called Greekrank, where students from various universities discuss issues with fraternities and sororities, according to The Cornell Daily Sun, the student newspaper.

A number of Jewish students at Cornell learned of the threats around 5 p.m. on Sunday. One post called for the Jewish center to be torn down. Others urged people to kill Jews on campus and said that they needed to be “eliminated.”

The posts were shared among Jewish students participating in a chat forum on WhatsApp at the time, said Molly Goldstein, a junior who is co-president of the Center for Jewish Living. Within minutes, Cornell police officers arrived at the center, she said, followed by officers from the Ithaca Police Department.

By Monday morning, troopers with the New York State Police also were present, Ms. Goldstein said. Police vehicles blocked the driveway to the center, which includes a hall of residence and kosher dining hall, and officers walked the grounds.

Several Jewish students said they were grateful for the swift police response and Ms. Hochul’s visit.

“We could not appreciate it more,” Ms. Goldstein said.

“Our community is scared,” she said. “Our parents are scared. But we are strong, and we are proud, and we will continue to live and be our Jewish selves.”

The state police increased its presence on college campuses across New York after Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, Ms. Hochul said, and the New York State Intelligence Center has increased its efforts to monitor social media for antisemitic hate speech. The F.B.I. was notified of the posts as a potential hate crime, Ms. Hochul said.

Speaking of the Jewish students at Cornell, Ms. Hochul said: “I want them to know that they’re not alone, that they have the State of New York backing them. The terrorists, the people who are threatening them, will get no refuge here.”