Following anonymous antisemitic threats that were posted on Cornell’s Greekrank forum this weekend, including one that threatened a shooting at 104West!, the home of the Center for Jewish Living and kosher dining hall, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) addressed the community at a press conference on Monday, Oct. 30.
“We will not tolerate threats or antisemitism or any kind of hatred that makes people feel vulnerable and exposes people and makes them feel insecure in a place where they should be enjoying their campus life, without fear that someone could cause them harm,” Hochul said.
Hochul was joined by Cornell President Martha Pollack, leaders of the New York State police and the Cornell University Police Department and Jewish students who live in the CJL or frequent the kosher dining hall, 104West!.
The governor said the state of New York is taking these threats seriously and is investigating them to the fullest extent. State police are assisting local law enforcement with the investigation and the FBI is also involved with attempting to identify a perpetrator.
“If you are going to engage in these harmful actions, hate crimes, breaking our laws — you will be caught, and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Hochul said.
Hochul said that state police have ramped up security across New York college campuses since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, and the heightened security will continue in the following weeks. On Wednesday, Oct. 25, Cornell’s campus was vandalized by anti-Israel and anti-Zionist graffiti, and a week prior, a Cornell professor delivered an off-campus speech in which he stated he was “exhilarated” by Hamas’s initial attack.
“This community will start to heal. It’s been horribly painful. They will come together. Because the terrorists, the people who are threatening them, will get no refuge here,” Hochul said. “They will find that this community is made stronger and defiant and will resist any sense that they will change their way of life because they’ve been threatened by people with such hate in their hearts.”
To view Hochul’s full remarks, click here.
After Hochul’s remarks, Pollack said she stands by the governor and will not allow antisemitism at Cornell to be tolerated.
“We will not tolerate antisemitism on this campus. We will not tolerate hate crimes or threats of violence of any kind,” Pollack said. “I am very appreciative of the Governor for all she’s done in coming here today. Very appreciative of all the law enforcement that is supporting our students and we are just here to stand with our students.”
Aaron Goldgewert ’27 was one of the students who attended the press conference and said he frequents the CJL three times a day for prayers and eats the majority of his meals in the dining hall. He was eating dinner at 104West! on Sunday night when news of the threats broke. He described a frantic scene until the CUPD and Pollack arrived.
“[Pollack] came more as a person than the president. She wasn’t like ‘here’s what we’re going to do.’ But she and Vice President Ryan Lombardi came to show support and leadership, and that they were there with us to answer questions that we might have,” Goldgewert said.
Adin Moskowitz ’27, who likewise visits the CJL daily for morning services and kosher meals, described locking himself in his dormitory on North Campus as the threats were unfolding, not knowing what was going to happen.
“It was jarring and scary to see attacks directly towards a community center that is a home to me,” Moskowitz said. “I was not expecting something like this to happen here at Cornell.”
Residents of the CJL, including Matan Auerbach ’25, said that they are not going to let these threats deter them from going about their daily routine.
“Keeping us home and making us afraid and not going to class and making us do worse — that’s how they win. That is what this is trying to do, to instill fear,” Auerbach said. “So for me, if I don’t go out there and I don’t wear my kippah, I’m playing into their hands. And that’s just not how I operate.”
Update, Oct. 30, 12:10 p.m.: This story has been updated to include comments from three affected students and The Sun’s YouTube link to Hochul’s remarks.