AU students exploit racist incident for progressive causes

Kara Zupkus
Washington D.C. Campus Correspondent

  • Following a racist incident on campus, eight student organizations at American University have created a list of demands that goes far beyond addressing racism.
  • Among other things, the ultimatum targets food service providers, accuses the university of having a "white supremacist" curriculum, and demands various forms of voluntary segregation.
  • Following a racist incident on campus, eight student organizations at American University have created a list of demands to present to the administration.

    The incident, which involved an individual hanging bananas written with “AKA Free” on nooses around campus, follows the election of AU’s first African-American female student government president, who is also a member of AKA, or Alpha Kappa Alpha, a predominately black sorority.

    “Abandon the white supremacist and colonial curriculum...for a more transformative and decolonized curriculum.”   

    The list of demands is created and signed by The Darkening, NAACP, Black Student Alliance, Caribbean Circle, African Students’ Organization, Students for Justice in Palestine, Fossil Free AU, and END.

    One demand addresses the racist incident at hand, calling on the university to expel any students involved with this or future hate crimes, but the rest take on a very different mission.

    [RELATED: Howard students demand Trump be banned from campus]

    “Divest from fossil fuels, the Israeli Apartheid State, and private prisons including Aramark,” one item ostentatiously demanded, while another called for the university to “abandon the white supremacist and colonial curriculum in all schools for a more transformative and decolonized curriculum.”

    Another floated the idea of segregated campus spaces, demanding “the establishment of separate resource centers for Black, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, Native Americans, Muslim students, undocumented students, and queer and trans students.”

    The students even insist on the creation of “black-centered housing on campus so that we have support that specifically addresses our experiences as Black students on campus.”

    The list also demands increased financial aid for all students, a tuition freeze, and training programs for AU faculty to “deconstruct oppressive behavior in the classroom; zero tolerance for racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, and xenophobia.”

    [RELATED: Salem students hold sit-in until they get ‘some action’]

    American University President Neil Kerwin said in a statement about the racist incident that “I regret this happened, apologize to everyone offended, and state emphatically that this incident does not reflect what American University truly is.”

    The university also hosted a town hall meeting yesterday, where university officials suggested the idea of changing discrimination and harassment policies.

    Campus Reform reached out to the university for comment on this list of demands, but a response was not received in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @kara_kirsten

    Kara Zupkus

    Kara Zupkus

    Washington D.C. Campus Correspondent

    Kara Zupkus is a Washington, D.C. Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. She studies Political Science and Journalism at The George Washington University, where she serves as treasurer of GW's Chapter of Young America's Foundation. Kara wrote for the Washington Examiner last semester and will be interning at NBC News this semester.

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