Jan. 19 update:
After several weeks of investigation by LUPD and Bethlehem Police, the off-campus assault of a Black student that took place on Nov. 19 was determined to not be a racially motivated assault, President Helble said in a campus-wide email on Jan. 19.
Racist language, however, was used during a physical altercation towards the student, the email read.
Helble said in the email Lehigh is in continued contact with the student, who is “doing well.” No parties involved have filed charges.
According to the email, the incident does not present a safety concern for students.
“At Lehigh, our aim is to foster a sense of belonging and an environment where every student is not only safe on our campus and feels they belong but also can thrive,” Helble said in the email. “As we begin a new semester, I want to express my continued commitment to providing such an environment where discrimination and racism, hate, and violence, have no home.”
Nov. 22 update (5:53 p.m.):
Bethlehem Police are asking for information regarding the two suspects who perpetrated the assault of a Black Lehigh student on Nov. 19.
The assault occurred at around 3 a.m. in the area of South New Street and Morton Street, according to a BPD Facebook post.
Police said the 22-year old student reported one of the suspects called out to him using a malicious statement about his race before both suspects confronted him. One of the assailants struck him in the face, causing a laceration and swelling to his lip.
The victim described the suspect who physically assaulted him as white, male, 20-25 years old and between 5’8” and 5’10” with dark colored hair, according to the Facebook post. BPD did not provide a description of the other suspect.
BPD is asking anyone who may have witnessed the assault, or anyone with information to contact the department at (610) 865-7000 or [email protected]
A Lehigh student was assaulted off campus Saturday in what university officials are calling a racially motivated assault.
According to a campus-wide email from Lehigh president Joseph Helble, the two assailants, both white, physically assaulted and directed racist epithets at a Black student.
The identity of the assailants is unknown at this time.
Helble wrote that the student is recovering, and Lehigh police and staff are in contact with the student. The Bethlehem Police Department is leading the investigation.
“I want to assure all of our students, especially our students of color, of our commitment to your safety and well-being,” Helble wrote in the email. “I am committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for you. Racism, hate, verbal and physical violence have no place at Lehigh.”
The email included the link to Lehigh’s support resources page, which includes information on the University Counseling and Psychological Services office, located in Johnson Hall.
Original reporting and Nov. 22 update by former Brown and White editor Eli Mundy,’23.