This message was distributed via email to all Lafayette students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents.
Dear College Community,
I write to share information about news reports on a Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) matter.
The OCR informed us yesterday that it was seeking information related to a complaint it received about an alleged incident of discrimination on campus. Media reports have stated that the OCR is looking into these matters at seven colleges and universities after it received complaints about antisemitism and Islamophobia.
We find any OCR complaint concerning and are fully cooperating with their review. At the same time, we have not seen incidents like those that have occurred at other campuses. To the contrary, as recently as last week, students of differing views shared a peaceful gathering on campus to honor all those who have died in the recent violence in the Middle East. This event was typical of how our campus community has acted during this time. I have witnessed day after day during this crisis how devotedly students, faculty, staff, and administrators have worked to treat each other with care and thoughtfulness. From actively engaging in important conversations, individually and in small groups, to working together to organize programming and events grounded in empathy, this College has come together for one another.
The OCR letter states, “The Complainant alleges that the College discriminated against students on the basis of national origin (shared Jewish ancestry) by failing to respond to incidents of harassment in October 2023.” There was a problematic poster at a peaceful event on Oct. 25 that was quickly addressed. The College maintains a firm stance against antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hate speech of any kind.
We are one community, and we will remain vigilant regarding any concerns related to the safety and well-being of all our students, faculty, and staff. We remind the campus community to use the counseling and other resources we have available as needed as well as to report any suspicious activity or security concerns to Public Safety. All those resources are listed below.
In this season of gratitude, I am thankful to you all as we navigate these difficult issues together, and continue to look out for each other.
President Nicole Hurd