This week at Temple University in Philadelphia, there were two alleged instances of bananas being left at dorm rooms occupied by black students, and now the campus Police Department and the Department of University Housing and Residential Life are investigating them as “bias-related” incidents.
The Temple News reports that the first incident happened Monday when a banana was left on the door handle of a room occupied by four black students. A second incident later in the week involved a banana being left at the dorm room of another student in the same dorm.
Kevin Williams, director of university housing and residential life, told Temple News that it was after the second reported incident that campus police decided to investigate.
On Thursday afternoon, Williams sent out a statement on inclusivity to all students in on-campus housing via email.
“Within the past week, there have been several instances of inappropriate and arguably discriminatory behavior,” Williams wrote. “This email is a reminder that all residence halls … are inclusive environments that promote safety and respect for all members of the community.”
Freshmen Halle Ray and Madison Brown are two of the four black students occupying the room where the first banana was left. Brown told Temple News that they are the only dorm room consisting of black students on their floor.
“I was mad, but I had to calm down,” Ray said. “We just had to think things through, like, what are we gonna do next?”
Ray decided to share the incident on Twitter. She posted a picture of the banana on the door handle with the caption, “I go to Temple University, my roommates come back from grocery shopping and see this (we’re the only black girls on our floor).”
Ray told Temple News: “I just wanted people to be aware that stuff like this does happen, especially if you are a minority on a [predominantly white institution]. If I wasn’t strong, if I cared about what people thought, it could have become bigger than what it is now.”
Temple Student Government came out with a statement denouncing the incident involving Ray and her roommates, calling it “racism and intimidation.”
On Friday the university issued a statement saying that the students involved in leaving the bananas could face criminal charges or punishment for violating the school’s Student Code of Conduct.
In addition, Director of Campus Safety Charlie Leone wrote in an email to Temple News that Temple police are “aggressively investigating the incident.”
At least they are taking it seriously.
Read more at Temple News.