American University Ends Hate Crime Investigation a Year Later

The investigation into a hate crime at American University in Washington, D.C. has reached a dead end.

Someone hung up bananas from nooses around the campus in May 2017. They marked the fruit with the letters "AKA," the abbreviation for the historically black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.

The racist displays were found on the same day student government president Taylor Dumpson, an AKA member, started the new position. She was the first black woman in the role.

Nearly a year later, the school's president said in a letter Friday that the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI and the campus police exhausted all leads in the case.

"I know this is disappointing. I recognize the anger and grief that many experienced because of this traumatic event and understand that this is not the outcome we hoped for. We must create our own path to healing as a community," President Sylvia M. Burwell wrote.

The hate crime was not the first time bananas were used to harass women on campus. In September 2016, an African-American woman said a banana was thrown at her. Another African-American woman found a rotten banana and obscene drawings on her dorm room door that same month.

In January, the university announced a wide-reaching plan to fight racism on campus that included requiring every student to take a class on diversity.


Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information

New Climate and Health Care Law: The News4 Rundown

DC Wins $4M Penalty Against Major Ghost Gun Manufacturer

Only a third of African-American students said they felt included on campus, compared to 70 percent of white students, according to a university report.

Contact Us