Black student at American University says banana was thrown at her

Bananas were allegedly thrown at two black students at American University.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A black female freshman at American University said a banana was thrown at her through her dorm room earlier this month, our news partners at the Washington Post reported.

The incident happened around 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 8 in the Anderson dormitory. 

According to the Post, the school is investigating two white male freshmen in connection with the incident.

Another black student on the same floor of the dorm found a rotten banana outside her door the same night.

Neah Gray told the Post she also found an obscene drawing on the whiteboard attached to her door.

The reports have sparked outrage on campus. A protest is being held on Monday at the university.

The President of The Black Student Alliance, Ma'at Sargeant, said, "This campus isn't safe for all students and we want people to know we deal with discrimation on campus."

"Bananas and black people have strong connotations because black people are often referred to as apes and I think AU is ignoring racial history of America as well as the seriousness of this situation," said Sargeant.

"My friends and I ban together so we don't have to be victims to these racially charged acts and if we do at least there are enough people around to tell our story," said Freshman Ajaika Mclemore.

The university released a statement on Friday saying they are working with student and community leaders who are concerned about the incident.

“We understand that members of our community feel hurt by an incident that happened in a residence hall and separate allegations of racially biased behavior,” the statement read.

Read the full statement below:

We understand that members of our community feel hurt by an incident that happened in a residence hall and separate allegations of racially biased behavior.

We’re working with student leaders and others in the community concerned about this. At 1:00 pm today, we are holding a Town Hall in Butler Board Room to listen to student groups and the community at large about the climate, discuss the facts as we know them, and provide an update on the incident. The entire AU community is invited to participate.

Regarding the known facts, on September 8, an incident that was not characterized as bias related occurred in a residence hall and was reported to Residence Life staff. The Dean of Students office reached out to the affected party and to the perpetrators. Based on the accounts provided, the DOS filed conduct charges, which are currently being adjudicated through the Student Conduct process. The Department of Public Safety was notified and conducted its own investigation.

Actions can and do have impact beyond their intent and that was the case here. The University condemns discrimination and discriminatory harassment and all violations are handled through the Student Conduct process.

Regarding allegations of other incidents, the Dean of Students and Department of Public Safety are continuing their investigations. We want to find out more and hope students can be helpful in providing additional details that will help us understand what has happened. If you have information, please contact the Dean of Students at DOS@american.edu or 202-885-3300 or the Department of Public Safety at 202-885-2527.

We will continue to update the community on our conversations and actions about how we can work to ensure AU has a healthy, safe and supportive environment.


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