Antisemitic messaging has now forced one prestigious Ivy League school to get federal authorities involved.
Cornell University said it has informed the FBI about harmful messages posted to an online message board that threatened violence against Jewish Students. University officials said the anonymous messages included threats to specific locations, including a 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," Cornell President Martha E. Pollack said in a statement. "Our immediate focus is on keeping the community safe; we will continue to prioritize that."
University officials said campus police are investigating the issue and will continue to remain on-site to ensure students and staff are safe.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul visited the university Monday, pledging that authorities are working tirelessly to identify who's responsible and hold them accountable.
“No one should be afraid to walk from their dorm or their dining hall to a classroom,” she said. “When speech crosses over into hate speech and into hate crimes, that’s when we have to make sure that students know that we’ll step up and protect them.”
As war between Israel and Hamas continues to rage on in the Middle East, colleges and universities across the United States have been thrust into the chaos. Many are dealing with increasing pressure to respond to the crisis, while at the same time balancing free speech rights of students on campus.
Charles Henebry studies social movements at Boston University. He explained why the ongoing conflict in the Middle East can be so challenging to navigate.
"[The issue is] a tricky one," Henebry said. "Because we don't have a model to fall back on. You have student groups strongly on both sides of the issue, you have donors, you have faculty."
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