DC's American University Investigating Report of Banana Thrown at Black Student

A U.S. flag and American University flag fly on the university campus Aug. 15, 2006, in Washington, D.C.
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The American University in Washington, D.C., is investigating two white male freshmen after a black female student reported that a banana was thrown through her dorm-room door earlier this month, the Washington Post reports.

According to the report, the incident took place Sept. 8 in the Anderson dormitory and is just one of a series of events that have sparked racial tensions on campus. The Post reports that another black student on the same floor of the dorm found a rotten banana outside her door, as well as an obscene drawing on the whiteboard on her door the same night.


A protest is scheduled for Monday at the university.

“I wouldn’t let people drive me out, but it’s kind of sad that this kind of thing still happens,” Neah Gray, who found the banana outside her door, told the Post Friday.

The university released a statement Friday saying that the allegations would be investigated.

“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. "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."


The American University Black Student Alliance released a statement addressing the alleged attacks on the black female students, calling out the university on perceived lack of action regarding this and other incidents, and urging the administration and students to step up.


“In the real world, this would be a hate crime and an assault,” Ma’at Sargeant, a sophomore at the university and president of the BSA, told the Post about the banana incident. “This kind of thing has been happening at AU for years. Last year, people wrote the n-word on black students’ doors and put up Trump stickers on the doors of Hispanic students. This is not just a one-time thing.”

“It’s completely unacceptable that this happened,” junior Devonate Torriente, the AU student body president, said. “I think it does fit into a larger pattern of students of color, specifically black students, feeling unsafe and excluded from the campus community.”


Torriente, who is black, said that he thinks that the school is trying to address the issues.

“It’s hard to tackle solving a problem on our campus when it’s such a pervasive national issue, as well,” he added. “We can’t solve the nation’s problem here at AU. But I think the school is headed in the right direction in figuring out what those next steps need to be.”


Sargeant, however, thinks that more needs to be done.

“You come into this institution that promotes diversity, and then this happens to you,” she said. “The individuals are hurt, and the community as a whole is hurt. And we’re sick of it.”


Read more at the Washington Post

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