BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The FBI is now investigating a racial incident at American University.
Someone placed bananas on nooses around campus, and wrote “AKA” on at least one of them, an apparent reference to Alpha Kappa Alpha, an African American sorority.
The incident happened the same day AKA member Taylor Dumpson became the school’s first black student government president.
Dumpson, who is from Maryland, called the incident “heinous” and “bigoted.”
“It is disheartening and immensely frustrating that we are still dealing with this issue after recent conversations, dialogues, and town halls surrounding race relations on campus. But this is exactly why we need to do more than just have conversations but move in a direction towards more tangible solutions to prevent incidents like these from occurring in the future,” Dumpson wrote.
Campus police have offered a $1,000 reward and have released two surveillance videos showing the suspect walking through campus.
The incident happened around 4 a.m. Monday.
Jasmine Chandler, a sophomore from Baltimore, told WJZ “this person is the definition of a coward. They did it because they felt they could get away with it.”
AU president Neil Kerwin told students that the university is classifying this as a hate crime and that its intention was to instill fear.
He said it expressed a despicable degree of racism targeting women of color, black women, and specifically members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
He underscored the severity of the act and that the hate crime classification ensures whoever did this is brought to justice.