On Monday, photos of bananas hanging by nooses featuring the words “AKA” and “Harambe,” were found around the campus of Washington, D.C.’s American University.
The racist act came on the heels of the university electing Taylor Dumpson as its first black female president of American University’s student government, the university confirmed.
“I regret this happened, apologize to everyone offended, and state emphatically that this incident does not reflect what American University truly is,” university President Neil Kerwin said in a press release. “While this incident targeted AU’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority … and occurred after the first black woman and AKA member was sworn in as the Student Government president—our entire university community has been adversely affected by this cowardly, despicable act.”
Dumpson also issued a statement about the incident:
“This is not what I imagined my first letter to you all would be,” she wrote on the student government website. “In my first message to the student body, I would have wanted to talk about accountability, transparency, accessibility, and inclusivity. Now more than ever, we need to make sure that members of our community feel welcomed and above all, safe on this campus.”