Lafayette College: Students for Justice in Palestine Chapter Denied Based on Viewpoint


Lafayette College

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Case Overview


In February 2023, Lafayette College denied recognition to a prospective Students for Justice in Palestine chapter based on events organized by other SPJ chapters, the potential relationship the chapter could have with a recognized Jewish student group, and proposed ideas prospective members had for the group, which include walkouts from Zionist speakers’ events. On March 6, FIRE wrote Lafayette to explain that because the university promises students expressive rights, it cannot deny student groups recognition based on the views they may espouse. Lafayette responded on March 20, arguing that it did not engage in viewpoint discrimination but instead denied the group due to other SJP groups’ conduct. On March 28, FIRE wrote again to Lafayette, explaining that guilt by association, which Lafayette engaged in by denying SJP, is antithetical to the university’s free expression and association commitments. The university responded again on May 7, refusing to recognize SJP and denying it had engaged in any wrongdoing.