Man Faces Harassment Charges after Islamophobic Incident at Cornell University

10:17 - April 21, 2024
News ID: 3488019
IQNA – A former Cornell University master’s student has been charged with second-degree harassment after spitting on a Muslim student in March.


A month after allegedly spitting on the Muslim student in Collegetown on March 19, Salim Dridi grad has been charged with harassment in the second degree by the Ithaca Police Department, according to an April 19 University statement.

Dridi, who is no longer enrolled in the University but was pursuing a master of engineering degree in computer science at the time of the incident, faces charges in several other local crimes.

On March 31, Dridi allegedly damaged a glass door by throwing a brick at it. Dridi also allegedly falsely activated a fire alarm four times during this week. Dridi has been charged with third-degree mischief and second-degree falsely reporting an incident.

In the statement, Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina said that the University is “saddened that a member of the Cornell community is a suspect in this vile act targeting another student.”

Muslim and Arab students have previously spoken out about what they see as an insufficient University response to Islamophobic incidents, including threats toward hijabi women posted on Greekrank and death rape threats sent to the Students for Justice in Palestine’s Instagram account.

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The Coalition for Mutual Liberation, a pro-Palestine coalition of over 40 organizations, released a statement on March 20 that described the spitting incident as a “continuation of a climate that Cornell fosters,” referencing several previous instances in which they believe the University should have responded to safety concerns raised by Muslim students.

 “This physical act of hate is the manifestation of Cornell administration’s month-long silence in addressing Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian sentiments throughout the Cornell community,” CML wrote.

The University responded to the spitting on a Muslim student on the day it occurred. None of the eight previous incidents cited by CML were addressed in official University statements, though two previous statements on Nov. 1 and Feb. 8 specifically mentioned University efforts to combat Islamophobia through consultation with external experts.