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Authorities investigating online threats against Jewish students at Cornell University, school’s president says

The rooftop view of War Memorial at Lyon and McFaddin Halls in Cornell University

(CNN) — Cornell University police are investigating a series of antisemitic threats made against the school’s Jewish community in online posts over the weekend, its president announced.

“Earlier today, a series of horrendous, antisemitic messages threatening violence to our Jewish community and specifically naming 104 West — the home of the Center for Jewish Living — was posted on a website unaffiliated with Cornell,” President Martha E. Pollack said in a statement Sunday.

Law enforcement was notified and the university’s police department also notified the FBI of a potential hate crime, Pollack said.

Authorities were at 104 West – which houses the campus’ kosher and multicultural dining hall – and would remain there “to ensure our students and community members are safe,” the president wrote.

The threats come amidst rising tensions on college campuses across the US as the war between Israel and Hamas rages on in the Middle East. At many universities, students are engaging in fervent protests as some administrators – including those at elite institutions such as Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania – grapple with how to acknowledge students’ wide-ranging concerns while also fielding backlash from influential donors demanding the college takes a clearer stance on the conflict.

Cornell’s Hillel organization warned students and staff to avoid the 104 West building Sunday evening “out of an abundance of caution.”

Last week, several sidewalks on campus were vandalized with anti-Israel graffiti, according to the university’s newspaper, The Cornell Review.

Pollack said in her statement that violent threats are “absolutely intolerable” and the university is working to prioritize community safety.

“We will not tolerate antisemitism at Cornell,” the president wrote. “The virulence and destructiveness of antisemitism is real and deeply impacting our Jewish students, faculty and staff, as well as the entire Cornell community. This incident highlights the need to combat the forces that are dividing us and driving us toward hate. This cannot be what defines us at Cornell.”

Cornell is located in Ithaca, New York – about 60 miles south of Syracuse.