American University officials are investigating the sudden appearance of bananas hanging across campus. To make matters worse, references to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a Black greek letter organization, was targeted in what the university president is calling a “crude and racially insensitive act of bigotry.”
“Racially charged acts of bigotry are done to instill fear and inflict pain in our community—especially at stressful times, such as at the end of the term,” university President Dr. Neil Kerwin said in a statement. “I regret this happened, apologize to everyone offended, and state emphatically that this incident does not reflect what American University truly is.”
The words “AKA free” and “Harambe bait” were carved into the sides of some of the bananas, according to MSNBC. These are references to both the organization and the gorilla who was shot at the Cincinnati Zoo after a young boy fell into its enclosure.
Coincidentally – most likely, not – the racist incident came the same day that a young Black woman and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha began her term as Student Government Association president.
“As the first black woman AUSG president, I implore all of us to unite in solidarity with those impacted by this situation and we must remember that ‘if there is no struggle, there is no progress,’ ─ Frederick Douglass,” said Taylor Dumpson. “We must use this time to reflect on what we value as a community and we must show those in the community that bigotry, hate, and racism cannot and will not be tolerated.”
This is far from the first time stories have come out about a culture of racism at American University. It’s not even the first one involving bananas. Last September, two students claimed they had bananas thrown at them by white students.
The latest incident is currently being investigated by AU Campus Police, D.C. Metro Police and other offices.