Bananas hanging from nooses have started appearing around campus at American University. This act of aggression began not long after the student body elected their first black, female president, Taylor Dumpson. The bananas were marked with the letters of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a well-known and predominantly black sorority. “Harambe” was also written on the bananas, referencing the male silverback gorilla shot in the Cincinnati Zoo back in 2016. Given the violent motifs and blatant racism, it’s hard to say this act is a harmless one.
— PabloTexasRanger (@pablo_bandz27) May 1, 2017
“I regret this happened, apologize to everyone offended, and state emphatically that this incident does not reflect what American University truly is,” university President Neil Kerwin said in a press release. “While this incident targeted AU’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority … and occurred after the first black woman and AKA member was sworn in as the Student Government president—our entire university community has been adversely affected by this cowardly, despicable act.”
It’s also not the first time something like this has happened. Back in September, one student found a rotten banana was left on their doorstep in their dorm, while another black student had a rotten banana thrown at their head. It is unknown whether or not these occurrences are linked to the same individual.
“This is not what I imagined my first letter to you all would be,” Dumpson wrote on the student government website. “In my first message to the student body, I would have wanted to talk about accountability, transparency, accessibility and inclusivity. Now more than ever, we need to make sure that members of our community feel welcomed and above all, safe on this campus.”
While no suspects have been named, the situation is currently under investigation. Students are encouraged to call campus police with any information they may have.