AU students exploit racist incident for progressive causes

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.

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.

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“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.”

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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