Racist Harassment Riles American University Students

(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

Students at American University are up in arms over what they are calling an inadequate response by the school to racially-charged incidents that recently occurred on campus.

One instance found a rotting banana being left on the doorstep of a black student's dorm room, while another saw a penis drawn on a whiteboard attached to the door of a separate black student.

"I wouldn't let people drive me out," Neah Gray, the freshman who found the banana, told the newspaper. "But it's kind of sad that this kind of thing still happens."

Meanwhile, another incident resulted in a rotten banana being physically thrown at a black student after a group of white men forced open her dorm room, states the American University Black Student Alliance. The organization said that, put together, the incidents make up a pattern of behavior at the school.

The group added that racist epithets were found written on the doors of black students last year. Racist slurs were written on the dorm doors of black students, while other students on the anonymous social media site Yik Yak suggested a "slave auction" of black students on campus, adding that they should "Go back to Africa."

"The feeling that black students carry of being unrepresented, unprotected and unappreciated can no longer be the status quo," the organization said.

Although it is unknown which incident the university is referring to, officials did describe one instance as "not characterized as bias related" and that "conduct charges" were taking place through the "Student Conduct process."

While the administration also made an announcement last Friday concerning a town hall meeting to be held that night, many students were left angered as they said they had not received enough notice to attend the meeting, writes Ed Mazza for The Huffington Post.

"Black women are under threat on campus ― they are being used as target practice," Jada Bell, the Black Student Alliance's outreach coordinator, told BuzzFeed. "We're literally being attacked and assaulted on campus, and there's nothing being done about it by the administration."

A campaign known as #TheRealAU has been created by activists in an effort to stand up against the attacks, involving the placement of signs around campus reading ""#TheRealAU may include having rotten bananas thrown at you." School administrators are requesting that the signs be taken down, reports David Ferguson for RawStory.

University police are also conducting an investigation, while the administration released a statement saying that while they are aware of the situation, they do not support any such behavior.

"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.

A protest has been scheduled to occur this week at the school, writes Joe Heim for The Washington Post.

Similar incidents have occurred across the nation recently, resulting in outrage, protest, and in some cases, the removal of campus leaders. While some schools have stated that they would take a closer look at how to improve the college experience for minority students, others have acted to remove statues, murals, and facility names that uphold slaveowners or segregationists.

09 20, 2016
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