Photo Credit: Google Maps
Lafayette College campus.

In October, during a protest at Lafayette College, a student displayed a poster containing the phrase “from the river to the sea.” College officials, who were monitoring the event, convened to address the poster’s potentially offensive nature and identify the student responsible. On the same day, they spoke with the student about the phrase’s use and its widely perceived antisemitic connotations, according to federal investigators who later examined Lafayette’s response to alleged harassment of Jewish students.

Lafayette College is a private liberal arts institution located in Pennsylvania. The federal investigation aimed to determine whether the college had adequately addressed harassment concerns involving Jewish students.


A few days after the incident, the student agreed not to use the phrase again. The college president sent a campus-wide email on the day of the protest, describing the use of the phrase as “an incident of deep concern.”

The following day, an anonymous student complaint emerged regarding another student’s Instagram post containing the same phrase. In response, college officials determined that this post was protected under free speech rights and did not pose a direct threat. Consequently, they took no further action on the matter.

On June 21, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights informed Lafayette College of the conclusion of its Title VI investigation of all the complaints against its pro-Hamas students who had received the same blanket “free speech” treatment. For one thing, the complaints were numerous:

Incident 1: October 21, 2023
The reporting student submitted a OnePard complaint about an offensive Instagram post made by a respondent student against Jews. The post compares a Palestinian dying with Jesus dying, and states “Same Picture, Same Land, Same Perpetrator.”

Incident 2: October 23, 2023
An anonymous individual filed a OnePard complaint naming the respondent student and stating that they were posting offensive material on their Instagram account regarding Jews. The complaint did not include any screenshots. The reporting student said that they were “scared to be Jewish on campus at this time because of the actions of this person.”

Incident 3: October 24, 2023
Campus Public Safety was alerted to the word “Jew” written on a whiteboard with an arrow pointing downwards in an empty classroom. The image was erased. Campus police investigated the incident but were unable to determine when the image was written on the whiteboard or who drew it.

Incident 4: October 25, 2023
The reporting student submitted a OnePard complaint about an offensive Instagram post made by a respondent student against Jews. The post is a meme that depicts an Israel Defense Forces soldier as the same as a Nazi soldier and states “The irony of becoming what you once hated.” The complaint also included another post in which the respondent student wrote about losing followers with an image stating “Lost a follower… good. I don’t need ethnic cleansers on my team.”

These are four out of 11 complaints of antisemitic attacks by Lafayette College students against Jewish students between October 21 and November 29, 2023.

The College told OCR that the Office of Student Involvement hosts annual trainings with student organizations on campus, including training on student rights under Title VI, how to report violations of Title VI, and the College’s obligations to respond to such complaints.


Under Section 302 of OCR’s Case Processing Manual, allegations under investigation may be resolved at any time when, before the conclusion of the investigation, the recipient expresses an interest in resolving the allegations and OCR determines that it is appropriate to resolve them because OCR’s investigation has identified concerns that can be addressed through a resolution agreement.

Under the Agreement, the College will:

  • Review its policies and procedures to ensure that they adequately address the Title VI prohibition on discrimination based on race, color, and national origin, including discrimination based on a student’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, and revise its policies and procedures accordingly.
  • Provide training to employees responsible for investigating complaints and other reports of discrimination, including harassment, based on national origin/shared ancestry to ensure thorough and impartial investigations, including how to determine whether it created a hostile environment.
  • Provide training to staff and students addressing discrimination based on race, color, and national origin, including harassment based on shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, which will explain prohibited harassment and provide examples, explain the College’s applicable policies and procedures, how to report harassment, the steps the College will take in response to alleged discrimination, including harassment, and notice to as to how to access the College’s non-discrimination policies and procedures.
  • Review the College’s response to each report of discrimination and/or harassment it received based on shared ancestry during the 2023-2024 school to ensure that the College determined whether the alleged conduct created a hostile environment. If the College’s review reveals that it did not make a determination, then the College will promptly determine whether the alleged conduct created a hostile environment and will provide the parties with notice of its determination.
  • Provide OCR with information regarding its investigations of reports of alleged discrimination, including harassment, based on shared ancestry for the 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 academic years.

When fully implemented, the Agreement will address the evidence obtained and the allegations investigated. OCR will monitor the College’s implementation of the Agreement until the College is in compliance with the terms of the Agreement and the obligations under Title VI and its implementing regulations that were at issue in the case.

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articleUpdate: West Nile Virus Diagnosed in 32 Israelis
Next articleIsrael Tests New Rocket Propulsion System
David writes news at