Op-Ed: Offensive Le-Laf banner

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During the Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry Week, banners joking on Lafayette College are hanging everywhere. Some of them are very creative, such as “LAF believes that Jesus was born in Easton,” while some of them go beyond what is acceptable.

On the evening of Tuesday, Nov.19, a banner with biased and offensive remarks was found on East Fifth Street. The photo of the banner was soon spread out on Instagram and WeChat, a social media widely used in China. Most Chinese students felt offended by the banner and reported the incident to LUPD and the Office of International Students & Scholars immediately. 

“We all have the freedom and right to express our political opinions, but discriminatory remarks like this definitely cross the line,” a student said.  

“I feel absolutely humiliated and extremely lonely as a student who loves his country,” another student said.   

“I was surprised that Lehigh students are so good at writing creative banners but some of them do not even know how to spell ‘respect,’” a third student said. 

Some students would argue that the banner’s original intention was not to target the people of China and that it was, instead, merely a comment on the Chinese government and Hong Kong protest. We do understand that students from different cultural backgrounds that read different versions of news might hold different opinions.

However, we believe all Lehigh students, regardless of their nationality, share a common goal of bringing diversified ideas to campus. We would like to remind Lehigh students that there are better ways of expressing disagreement other than through derogatory remarks.  

The banner was removed on Wednesday morning after Samba Dieng, the director of the Office of International Students & Scholars immediately, met with the residents who live in the house where the banner was hung.

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