Dear Members of the Campus Community,
I am writing to share important information regarding a hate crime investigation that began over the weekend involving Lehigh students. The following is what Lehigh police know at this time.
A group of four white individuals whom Lehigh University police have concluded were not Lehigh-affiliated or from the Bethlehem area were driving on Lehigh’s campus and yelled racist comments directed at a Black Lehigh student who was with a group of Lehigh student friends. The Black Lehigh student ran after the car as a result of the hate speech before he disengaged and rejoined his group of friends walking on campus.
The suspects got out of their car, followed the Lehigh student group and assaulted our Lehigh student. After an ongoing verbal exchange, some of the suspects pursued the group of students into a campus residence hall, assaulting our student again. Thankfully, our student suffered no serious physical injuries. The student has requested anonymity to protect privacy.
The suspects left campus before the incident was reported to the Lehigh police. After the incident was reported and as a result of the investigation, Lehigh police identified the individuals involved and are evaluating criminal charges or a potential restorative justice resolution. The victim and the Lehigh students who witnessed the incidents are cooperating fully with the investigation.
These racist comments and hate crime are deeply disturbing and upsetting. They affect not just the students involved, but also other Black students and individuals in the Lehigh community. Hate speech and violence are not tolerated on Lehigh’s campus.
Although we strive to create a safe campus home for our students, dangerous situations are a possibility.
If you feel unsure about whether or not to contact Campus Safety, call.
Lehigh University Campus Safety and Lehigh police are available 24/7 at 8-4200 (on-campus) or (610) 758-4200 (off-campus).
Students, faculty and staff who feel they are in danger or in a situation that feels “off” should feel comfortable quickly contacting Campus Safety and Lehigh police to help facilitate a timely and safe resolution for them and our Lehigh community.
My heart goes out to the involved students and to all members of our community who are undoubtedly impacted by incidents of hate and discrimination. We will vigorously investigate these incidents and hold people accountable.
Jason D. Schiffer
AVP, Campus Safety Division
Lehigh University Chief of Police