On April 1, someone hung several bananas around the American University’s campus. The bananas were hanging from strings looking really similar to nooses, in three different locations. The bananas were marked with “AKA,” the abbreviation for Alpha Kappa Alpha, which is a historically black sorority.
The bananas were found early Monday morning when Quinn Dunlea, a senior in the School of Public Affairs, saw a banana hanging from a lamp post while she was walking. She reported about it to Public Safety and, after that, she found several more bananas.
American University President Neil Kerwin issued a statement after the bananas and message were discovered, condemning the “crude and racially insensitive act of bigotry.” “Know that American University remains committed to principles of diversity, inclusion, common courtesy, and human dignity, and acts of bigotry only strengthen our resolve,” Kerwin said. “Anyone who does not feel similarly does not belong here.”
Camille Lepre, assistant vice president of communications, said that the bananas were found recently at a shuttle bus stop, in front of a dining center and near another building.
A campus meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday in order to address the incident, with the university’s President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion expected to be there not only for the meeting but for one-on-one drop-in sessions for anyone who needs them.
Taylor Dumpson is the first black woman president of American University Student Government. She said in a statement that the university community must show that bigotry, hate, and racism won’t be tolerated. According to the local newspaper the incident coincided with Taylor Dumpson's first day as president of American University Student Government. Dumpson is the first black woman president of the Student Government.
The American University Department of Public Safety is now investigating the incident and is expected to release more information as it becomes available. The culprits haven’t been found yet.