Student sues alma mater for photograph use
PENNSYLVANIA — A graduate of Lafayette College in Easton has sued the school for using a photograph of him and his mother in a financial aid brochure without his permission.
Koran Christian is asking for $75,000 in damages from the school because he claims his family was depicted as a stereotypical black, single-parent family in a 1996-97 brochure.
The photograph, showing Christian and his mother at graduation ceremonies in 1996, did not include his father even though he was standing near the two.
This, as stated in the complaint, prompted Christian’s college acquaintances to question his integrity for not telling them he had received financial aid, even though his parents paid an estimated $100,000 for tuition.
The complaint also states his family suffered feelings of racial oppression, humiliation, anxiety, anger and embarrassment.
Christian charges the college with invasion of privacy, unauthorized commercial appropriation of a person’s image and likeness, and false light.
“This [graduation ceremony] was supposed to be one of the proudest memories of our family,” Marion Christian, Koran1s mother, told the Allentown Morning Call. “It’s been ruined.”
Speaking on behalf of the Christians, Milton Savage, the family’s lawyer, said in July that his clients were deeply offended by the photograph.
“The way the picture was printed brings forth a number of highly offensive notions to the Christians,” Savage said. “One of which is that a fatherless family, that is African American, is the stereotypical family that requires financial assistance.”
Lafayette College spokesman Roger Clow said his institution does not comment on pending litigation.
Fall 1998, reports