Washington D.C.- American University is investigating after bananas scrawled with racist messages were found hanging from fixtures around the Washington D.C. campus Monday morning.
The bananas, strung up in black noose-like rope, were marked with the words “Harambe bait” — a reference to the lowland gorilla who was shot at the Cincinnati zoo to — and “AKA free” in reference to Alpha Kappa Alpha, a predominantly Black sorority, and were found in three different places on campus.
The university president spoke out against the incident on Monday, calling it a “crude and racially insensitive act of bigotry.”
“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,” university President Dr. Neil Kerwin said in a statement on Monday night. “I regret this happened, apologize to everyone offended, and state emphatically that this incident does not reflect what American University truly is.”
The campus president continued to state that despite the “targeted” nature of the incident, “our entire university community has been adversely affected by this cowardly, despicable act.”
This is not the first time there has been a racial incident involving bananas reported at American University. Last September, a banana was thrown at a black student who was among a group from the Black Student Alliance preparing for a demonstration. There was also a report of a banana being placed near another black female student’s door.
The university’s Department of Public Safety is investigating, and surveillance video from around campus is being reviewed.