American University is in the middle of another racist controversy as university officials are investigating an incident where bananas were found hanging from nooses in various campus locations.
The initials of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a historically black sorority, were written on some of the bananas, while another had “Harambe Bait” — a reference to the gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo in May 2016 — scrawled on its peel.
American University has had problems with race in the past. In 2015, racist messages were being spewed on the popular social media campus app Yak. Last year, bananas were thrown at black students.
The bananas were found in three areas: a bus stop, a dining hall and an undergraduate co-ed residence hall.
According to the university, the bananas were marked with the letters “AKA,” the abbreviation for Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first black sorority, which was launched at Howard University in 1908.
“We will alert the university community of the investigation’s findings and next steps and will respond as swiftly and strongly as possible,” said Neil Kerwin, president of the university, in a statement about the incident. “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.I regret this happened, apologize to everyone offended, and state emphatically that this incident does not reflect what American University truly is.”