Cornell University has announced the cancellation of all classes on Friday, citing the “extraordinary stress” that its New York campus has experienced in recent weeks. This includes violent threats against its Jewish community and an unfounded weapons sighting.
Friday will serve as a “community day,” a spokesperson for the Ithaca school confirmed the decision to HuffPost following its announcement to students Wednesday.
“No classes will be held, and faculty and staff will be excused from work, except for employees who provide essential services,” university officials said in an email to students, which was obtained by the school paper, The Cornell Sun.
Students are seen walking at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The school announced that all classes will be canceled on Friday for a "community day."
“We hope that everyone will use this restorative time to take care of yourselves and reflect on how we can nurture the kind of caring, mutually supportive community that we all value,” the letter continued.
The decision follows a volatile few weeks since war broke out last month between Hamas and Israel, sparking a global rise in antisemitic incidents, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
At Cornell, a 21-year-old junior was arrested Tuesday for allegedly posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications.
Patrick Dai allegedly threatened to “shoot up” the school’s Center for Jewish Living, prompting an increase in police security as the FBI assisted with investigating the threats.
A New York State Police Department cruiser is parked in front of Cornell University's Center for Jewish Living on Monday.
The following day, campus police said someone reported seeing a male carrying a handgun on campus, triggering a public safety alert. The sighting was ultimately determined to be unsubstantiated.
“Even though it was unsubstantiated, it adds to the stress we are all feeling,” University President Martha E. Pollack said in a public letter Wednesday.
The letter listed ways that the school expects to work to make its community more inclusive and safe. These efforts will include new policies that will prohibit doxxing and strengthen its support services to those that are doxxed, she said.
Last month, a right-wing activist group drove a box truck around Harvard University’s campus showing photos of students linked to a political statement that expressed support for Palestinians and criticized the Israeli government.
Not all of the students identified personally backed the statement, however. Several CEOs regardless called for Harvard to publicly identify all students who are members of the school organizations that issued the statements, so their companies could decline to hire them.