American University

Racist Message Targeting Black Sorority Found Hanging on American University Campus

Campus police are investigating and reviewing surveillance video

Bananas were found hanging from nooses on Monday in three places on American University's campus.

The bananas were marked with the letters "AKA," the abbreviation for Alpha Kappa Alpha, the historically black college sorority, according to a statement released by the Washington, D.C., school.

American University President Neil Kerwin condemned the messages of hate, saying in a message to students that the displays were a "crude and racially insensitive act of bigotry."

Photos of the bananas appeared on social media Monday morning, said Fanta Aw, the interim vice president of campus life. 

"Know that American University remains committed to principles of diversity, inclusion, common courtesy, and human dignity, and acts of bigotry only strengthen our resolve," Kerwin wrote. "Anyone who does not feel similarly does not belong here."

The bananas were found on the same day Student Government president Taylor Dumpson, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, started the new position. She is the first black woman in the role.

The bananas were found at a shuttle bus stop at Letts-Anderson Halls, in front of Mary Graydon Center and near the East Quad Building, school spokeswoman Camille Lepre said in an email to News4.

Kerwin said there will be a campus community meeting on Tuesday, May 2, at 12 p.m. in Kay Chapel to discuss the incident. The President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion will be at the meeting and will also host one-on-one drop-in sessions at 6 p.m. at McDowell Hall. 

This is not the first time racist messages have been reported at the school.

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.

The American University Department of Public Safety is investigating and reviewing surveillance video. They said they will continue to share more information and release photos as they become available.


Anyone with information is encouraged to call 202-885-2999 or visit the AUPD TIPS website.

Contact Us