WND, May 15, 2017
American University in Washington, D.C., has reportedly banned white students from using its new “student lounge” for the spring semester, according to the College Fix.
The lounge, which is called “The Bridge,” opened just six weeks ago. It is planned to be “a community space that student organizations can use however they would like,” with open mic nights, slam poetry and “other student initiated programming,” Darcy Frailey, associate director for facilities and other event services, told the Eagle, American University’s student news site. The lounge seats 80 people and features large working tables, comfortable sofas and chairs, coffee tables, a television and a large stage for events. School officials said they plan to hire students who qualify for the federal work-study program to work at “The Bridge.”
The ban comes just after campus officials discovered bananas hanging in nooses with the letters “AKA” and the word “Harambe” scribbled onto them. “AKA” is short for Alpha Kappa Alpha, a black sorority. The May 1 incident led to a 50-student protest Friday that blocked traffic in a parking garage. The student crowd chanted “We can’t breathe,” a reference to black New Yorker Eric Garner, who died on July 17, 2014, after he was arrested by police.
“Do I not pay? Do I not pay for tuition?” junior Romayit Cherinet called to the crowd of protesters. “Do I come here and try as best as possible to ignore these racist ass white people? To ignore the microaggressions every single day?”
The students issued a set of three demands to school administrators. It remains unclear whether the banana incident was a hoax or a case of racially motivated hate and vandalism.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has joined the FBI and campus police in the investigation of the banana incident, the Washington Post reported. The paper added, “Authorities have released a video of a person of interest, but no arrests have been made.”
Campus Reform reported that the protesters had three demands:
“For the remaining [sic] of the semester, the Bridge will become a sanctuary for people of color,” the ultimatum begins, referring to a student café and lounge on campus.
Students also demanded that “all POC [persons of color] students get extensions, and should not be penalized for already scheduled finals after the incident,” arguing that the racist incident on campus has distressed many students to the point that they are unable to focus on exams.
The final demand calls for a “separate investigation team based out of the university (composed of a group of non-biased expert contractors) that can investigate cases of racism and discrimination brought against the institution of American University.”
American University Provost Scott Bass agreed to the students’ demands. Bass said the college also signed a contract with Ibram X. Kendi, author of “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” to begin an anti-racism center on the school’s campus.
“There’s nothing more important, in terms of my administration, than being a multicultural campus,” Bass reportedly told the student protesters.
That’s when the student protesters reportedly abandoned their parking garage blockade and celebrated their victory with chants of “We are AU!”
Bass said meeting the students’ demands “is just a minimum” and “doesn’t stop our commitment to do more.”