For the second time this school year, the black students of American University in Washington, DC were the object of an act of hate and racist in the campus.
On Monday, photos of bananas hung on strings were posted online, with the words "AKA," the predominantly African-American women's association Alpha Kappa Alpha, and "Harambe," an apparent reference to the gorilla that makes the Cincinnati Zoo. Officers killed last year. The bananas were found at a shuttle bus stop, in a dining room and near a university student residence.
The "despicable" act came just weeks after an election in which Taylor Dumpson, a law and civil society student, became the first black woman president of American University's student government, the university confirmed.
"I regret this, I apologize for all the offended and I emphatically state that this incident does not reflect what the American University really is," said the university president, Neil Kerwin, in a press release. "While this incident was addressed to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority UA chapter … and it happened after the first black woman and AKA member were sworn in as president of the Student Government, our university community has been negatively impacted by this cowardly and despicable act. "
The students and defenders said they were horrified, but not surprised. Similar incidents occurred in September; According to reports, one rotten banana was thrown at a black student, and another said that he had left a rotten banana on the door of his bedroom.
At that time, the American University Black Student Alliance condemned the school's lack of response to a culture of intolerant behavior on campus. In 2015, racist epithets were written on the doors of dormitories of black students.
On Monday, Dumpson urged the university to work harder for its students.
"This is not what I imagined would be my first letter to all of you," he wrote on the student government website. "In my first message to the student body, I would have liked to talk about responsibility, transparency, accessibility and inclusion. Now more than ever, we must make sure that members of our community feel welcome and, above all, safe on this campus.
University officials planned to hold a large number of meetings on Tuesday with campus leaders and individuals. No suspects were named in any of their reports, but students were urged to call the campus police with some advice.