American University condemned a “crude and racially insensitive act of bigotry” in which bananas tied to nooses were found hanging on the Washington, D.C. school’s campus Monday.
American University President Neil Kerwin said in a statement that school officials and local authorities are investigating the incident, which Kerwin said targeted Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), the first predominantly black Greek-lettered sorority in the U.S. Racist messages were written on the pieces of fruit dangling from a post, according to NBC News.
“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,” Kerwin’s statement said. “I regret this happened, apologize to everyone offended, and state emphatically that this incident does not reflect what American University truly is.”
The incident happened shortly after the first black woman to become Student Government president was sworn in, Kerwin said. Taylor Dumpson, the student body’s new leader and an AKA member, said in her first letter to fellow students that racism would not be tolerated.
“It is disheartening and immensely frustrating that we are still dealing with this issue after recent conversations, dialogues, and town halls surrounding race relations on campus,” she wrote. “But this is exactly why we need to do more than just have conversations but move in a direction towards more tangible solutions to prevent incidents like these from occurring in the future.”