Jewish NYC high schoolers warned against applying to Ivy League over antisemitism: not 'safe'

Jewish high schoolers in New York City were warned against applying to Cornell University over the school’s reported failure to protect Jewish students from repeated instances of antisemitism, Fox News Digital has learned.

“As a national network of alumni dedicated to countering antisemitism on campus, we felt an obligation to warn prospective Jewish students and their families about Cornell’s failure to protect our community,” Avi Gordon, executive director of Alums for Campus Fairness, said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

Alums for Campus Fairness sent brochures to all high schools in the New York City metro area this month, arguing “Cornell refuses to enforce the student code of conduct, fostering a hostile climate that endangers Jewish students.”

“Considering Cornell? Cornell is not a safe place for Jewish students,” the group’s brochure added. The brochures were styled to look like promotional materials sent by the university to prospective students, according to Alums for Campus Fairness.

Cornell is located in Ithaca, New York, roughly 200 miles from the Big Apple.

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 Alums for Campus Fairness sent brochures to high schools in NYC urging Jewish students to not apply to Cornell.  ( Alums for Campus Fairness.)

Last year, the Department of Education opened investigations into a handful of colleges over claims of discrimination on campus, including three Ivy Leagues: Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. The House Ways and Means Committee also announced a probe into four elite universities in January over their handling of campus antisemitism, including: Cornell, Penn, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

On Cornell’s campus, Fox News Digital reported last year that professor of history and self-identified “secular Marxist” Russell Rickford was accused of “justifying terror” after describing the war in Israel as “exhilarating.”

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A Cornell student, 21-year-old Patrick Dai, was also arrested in October afterallegedly posting threatening messages on a Greek life message board.

Alums for Campus Fairness sent brochures to NYC Jewish high schoolers warning them against applying to Cornell.  ( Alums for Campus Fairness.)

“Watch out pig jews. jihad is coming. nowhere is safe. your synagogue will become graveyards. your women will be raped and your children will be beheaded. glory to Allah,” Dai allegedly wrote Oct. 28, according to a criminal complaint.

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A mugshot of Patrick Dai, who was arrested on Tuesday, October 31, 2023. Dai, a junior at Cornell University, was arrested for posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications.  (Broome County Sheriff’s Office)

The school has also seen protests against Israel, and graffiti on campus reading “Israel is fascist,” “F–k Israel” and “Zionism = Racism.”

A Jewish activist in New York City, Lizzy Savetsky, told Fox News Digital that Cornell is obligated to protect Jewish students from discrimination under Title XI.

“As a mother, the safety and well-being of Jewish students on college campuses are of paramount importance. Universities like Cornell have an obligation, not just ethically but under Title XI, to ensure that Jewish students and those who support Israel are protected from discrimination and harassment,” she said.

“If these institutions fail to create a secure environment, they send a clear message to the Jewish community that our children are not welcome. It’s imperative for colleges and universities to take decisive action against antisemitism, ensuring that all students can pursue their education without fear for their Jewish and Zionist identities.”

Alums for Campus Fairness calls on Cornell to fire Rockford, enforce the student code of conduct, and define and denounce antisemitism.

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Governor Kathy Hochul joins Cornell University President Martha Pollack for a visit with students at the Center for Jewish Living at Cornell in Ithaca, New York on Monday, October 30, 2023.  (Lindsay France/Cornell University)

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The group also calls on the Ivy League to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s statement on antisemitism, which outlines: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

FILE – A woman walks by a Cornell University sign on the Ivy League school’s campus in Ithaca, New York, on Jan. 14, 2022.  (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

Following the outbreak of war in Israel, Penn and Harvard both saw their former presidents resign amid national and campus outrage after they appeared before Congress in December and were grilled about their handling of antisemitism on their respective campuses.

This year, Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack wrote a letter to the school community following another alleged instance of antisemitism, condemning the student for an alleged social media post calling for the deaths of “Zionists.”

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“This morning we learned of a post on social media allegedly from a Cornell student explicitly stating that ‘Zionists must die.’ Cornell Police and the Office of Student Conduct are investigating and if we determine that it was posted by a member of the Cornell community, they will be held fully accountable and appropriately sanctioned,” Pollack wrote in January. “This post is heinous, and I condemn it in the strongest terms.”

The letter was soon slammed by prominent Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson as “window dressing” after the school received a letter from the House Ways and Means Committee in January indicating Cornell could lose its tax-exempt status over its handling of antisemitism on campus.

“Coming a day after a congressional letter putting Cornell’s federal funding at risk, the Cornell administration’s reaction seems like window dressing, to make it seem they are doing something,” William Jacobson, who joined the faculty in 2007, said in a statement to Fox News Digital that month.

Cornell’s media team told Fox News Digital on Monday morning that the school does not have a comment on the brochures sent to high schoolers.

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