A few hundred demonstrators rallied on Monday to protest alarming racial incidents targeting Black students on American University campus in Northwest Washington, D.C., WTOP reports.
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They demanded more action and less talk from the school’s administration.
“American University’s negligence is what has allowed this to happen. There’s a reason students feel comfortable to assault Black students on campus,” Ma’at Sargeant, Black Student Alliance President, said at the protest, according to WTOP.
Before the event, Sargeant told Fox-5-DC that the protesters want to “raise awareness” about what’s happening on campus.
“A lot of people see American University as a diverse and inclusive campus, however, once you get on campus you are faced with a different reality,” Sargeant added.
That reality, many of the students say, is ugly.
On Sep. 8, an African-American female student reported that someone threw a banana at her through her dorm door. Later that night, another Black female student discovered a rotten banana outside her dorm door.
University officials said they’ve identified and disciplined the students responsible for the attacks, WTOP reported.
While the investigation was ongoing, American University President Neil Kerwin issued this statement:
“I share with many of you deep disappointment and frustration that these events have disrupted our community and challenged our efforts to build an inclusive campus culture. They simply have no place here. We will confront racist expressions with forceful condemnation and respond to discrimination with every tool at our disposal. It is incumbent on the university to respond clearly and to educate those who cause harm with their insensitivity and ignorance.”
Despite the school’s stated commitment to diversity, the protesters said the private university of more than 13,000 students has a history of racist incidents and a pattern of failing to confront it properly.