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Barclay to Cornell President: College Campuses Must Deal with Antisemitism

Assembly Minority Leader Requests Answers on University Practices; Legislature Should Address Rise of Antisemitism at NY’s Colleges

In a letter to Cornell University President Martha Pollack, state Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C-Pulaski) addressed the weekend’s antisemitic activity on Cornell’s campus and posed a series of questions to the university president about the institution’s response. A copy of the letter is available here

This weekend, disturbing threats were posted online warning of violence at Cornell’s Center for Jewish Living, which also hosts the university’s kosher dining hall. The anonymous threats, which encouraged brutal violence against Jewish people, were posted to a message board unaffiliated with the college. The matter is being investigated by Cornell University Police, which has notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In the letter to Cornell’s president, Barclay states: “Cornell was recently awarded a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for its ‘outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.’ However, I cannot possibly see how the Jewish community could feel included with such vile threats on the rise … The rise in extreme antisemitic behavior on college campuses, like what Cornell University experienced this weekend, warrants greater scrutiny and possible legislative action. These can no longer be dismissed as ‘isolated incidents.’”

In the wake of the weekend’s threats, it has been reported that some Jewish students have left Cornell’s campus or are not leaving their dorm rooms in fear for their safety. The most recent incident on campus comes two weeks after Cornell professor Russell Rickford stated at a rally he was “exhilarated” by the brutal Hamas terror attacks in which 1,300 Israelis were killed and more than 200 civilians were taken hostage. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents have increased nearly 400% since the terrorist attacks by Hamas on Saturday, Oct. 7.