Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As you know, late last November, the College received notification from the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) that it was seeking information related to a complaint it had received about an alleged incident of discrimination on campus. Since that time, OCR has received complaints of discrimination against numerous colleges and universities across the country.

In initiating its review last November, the OCR letter to the College stated, “[t]he 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.

I now write to provide an update on this matter.

Throughout this time, the College has worked closely in partnership with the OCR on its investigation, cooperating with and responding to the OCR at all steps during the review, submitting written responses to OCR questions, providing requested documentation, and making Lafayette staff available for OCR interviews.

In May, having completed much of its work, OCR invited Lafayette to enter into a voluntary process to resolve the complaint. The voluntary resolution of this matter indicates no liability, non-compliance, or wrongdoing by the College. Following consultation and review with OCR and the College’s Board of Trustees, we agreed to this voluntary resolution. The outcome is that the College will take the following key steps per our voluntary agreement with the OCR:

  • The College has agreed to review its policies and procedures to ensure that they adequately address Title VI prohibitions against discrimination. Within 90 days after the execution of the resolution, the College will submit its policy revisions to OCR for its approval. Once OCR approves, the College will implement the policy changes within 30 days.

  • By December 17, 2024, the College will provide appropriate training to all employees and staff responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination based on shared ancestry. By the same date, the College will also provide campuswide training to prevent Title VI discrimination.

  • The College will review all the complaints it received in the 2023-2024 academic year to ensure that it has made a determination as to whether the conduct alleged in those complaints created a hostile environment and will provide all related information to OCR.

We take these matters most seriously and, consistent with our close partnership with OCR during its investigation, will follow through fully on these obligations. Doing so is consistent with the College’s firm stance against antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hate speech of any kind, and with our determination to remain vigilant in protecting the safety and well-being of all our students, faculty, and staff.

My thanks to my colleagues who have worked so closely with the OCR on this matter and all they have done to position the College to become better in this important work. And please accept my appreciation for all that you do personally to look out for one another and create this welcoming Lafayette community we share.


President Nicole Hurd

Categorized in: Presidential News

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