Patrick Dai ’24 was charged on Tuesday, Oct. 31 for allegedly posting antisemitic threats on Saturday, Oct. 28 and Sunday, Oct. 29, with one submit threatening a mass capturing at 104 West — the handle of the College’s kosher eating corridor and the Middle for Jewish Residing.
At his arraignment listening to on Nov. 1, Dai waived his proper to a right away detention listening to earlier than Choose Thérèse Wiley Dancks within the Northern District of New York. Dai will subsequent seem in court docket on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. for a preliminary listening to, the place he might be evaluated in possible trigger associated to the costs.
Dai, who was instantly suspended from Cornell upon his arrest, was a pc science main within the Faculty of Engineering. He’s initially from Pittsford, New York, a predominantly white, prosperous suburb simply exterior Rochester, the place he graduated from Pittsford Mendon Excessive College in 2020. One other pupil at Cornell within the class of 2026 who beforehand attended MHS however didn’t know Dai personally stated that MHS usually sends a number of college students to Cornell every year, together with different college students from Dai’s graduating class.
Earlier than coming to Cornell, Dai chosen his senior yearbook quote from the character Patrick Star in Spongebob Squarepants, writing, “Information can by no means change friendship.” Dai participated in quite a few golf equipment together with Model United Nations and was a high-achieving 12-time AP pupil and Rochester Common Hospital volunteer, in accordance with his now-deleted LinkedIn profile.
The Pittsford Central College District and Pittsford City Supervisor declined to touch upon the state of affairs. Pittsford’s inhabitants is 85 p.c white with a $124,780 per yr median family earnings — in comparison with a $74,580 median earnings nationwide and a $40,083 median in Rochester, which is 45.1 p.c white.
The city and its excessive faculties have grappled with a number of racist incidents in recent times, together with a swastika and the n-word written on a desk at MHS in 2019. Inside Pittsford, college students have walked out of courses, tried to sue the varsity district and left the district solely as a result of frustrations with racist incidents and insufficient prevention and response insurance policies.
Dai’s solely Instagram submit — a grey sq. supporting the Black Lives Matter #BlackOutTuesday social media development — has drawn criticism on social media, particularly from conservatives equivalent to Chaya Raichik, creator of the far-right platform Libs of TikTok.
As a consequence of psychological well being challenges, Dai took two semesters off from the College in Spring 2022 and Spring 2023 — which a physician really helpful — in accordance with textual content messages from Dai’s father to the New York Put up.
Dai’s father attested that his son was not responsible.
“My son is in extreme despair. He can not management his emotion[s] nicely as a result of despair,” Dai’s father advised the New York Put up. “No, I don’t assume he dedicated the crime.”
Dai’s mom, alongside a household pal, attended immediately’s court docket look however didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Dai admitted that he posted the threatening messages in an interview with the FBI on Oct. 31, in accordance with a federal grievance. The federal grievance states that Dai suffers from “extreme despair,” which involved his mom, who drove to Ithaca and contacted Cornell police Tuesday after receiving a textual content message indicating suicidal intentions from Dai.
Dai’s father didn’t reply to a request for remark by The Solar.
Dai states on his LinkedIn profile that he was closely concerned on campus, collaborating in Cornell Tech Consulting, CU GeoData and Cornell Mars Rover throughout his first years at Cornell. Dai additionally served as a advisor for CS 1112: Introduction to Computing: An Engineering and Science Perspective for a number of semesters and took on numerous management positions with the Science Olympiad at Cornell, together with security officer.
Dai served as a winter orientation chief in January and February of 2021 and subsequently grew to become an orientation supervisor from March 2021 to February 2022, in accordance with his LinkedIn. Dai wrote in his previous Science Olympiad at Cornell biography that when not collaborating in extracurricular actions, he loved taking part in tennis and video video games.
The Solar reached out to 29 professors that train courses Dai took or probably took, six present and former Cornell college students who attended MHS and 64 present and former Cornell college students with overlapping extracurricular actions and work experiences as Dai with corresponding years of dedication. Of the seven college students who participated in overlapping extracurriculars or jobs who responded, the bulk didn’t keep in mind interacting with Dai or any notable or questionable habits. Some college students advised The Solar that they didn’t even keep in mind Dai collaborating of their identical actions. One pupil from a listed undertaking group, nonetheless, famous that Dai was reserved and quiet in social settings.
“To listen to that one among our college students is alleged to have betrayed our values and violated our neighborhood requirements is stunning and profoundly disappointing,” wrote Kavita Bala, dean of Cornell Bowers CIS, and Lynden Archer, Joseph Silbert dean of engineering, in an electronic mail assertion to the Cornell Bowers CIS and Cornell Engineering communities — through which Dai was concerned. “The present circumstances, whereas heartbreaking, don’t diminish our dedication to coming collectively to form a greater future.”