American University: White Supremacist Threatened Student President After Nooses Found
Law enforcement were dispatched to protect Taylor Dumpson and her family
Police were sent to protect the student government president of American University Thursday night after an online post "authored by a white supremacist" encouraged others to troll her, the university said in a statement issued Friday morning.
The post comes days after bananas marked with the letters "AKA," the abbreviation for the historically black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, were found hanging from nooses. The bananas were found in at least three locations on the Northwest Washington campus Monday morning.
The racist displays were found on the same day student government president Taylor Dumpson, an AKA member, started the new position. She is the first black woman in the role.
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School officials did not say where the online post targeting Dumpson was published, but said the author encourage "trolls" to harass her online.
"The university immediately dispatched law enforcement to her home to provide her and her family with additional security and technology protections," said Teresa Flannery, the vice president of communication for the university.
Campus police are monitoring the situation.
Dumpson confirmed to News4 Friday night that she was still under police protection.
American University students who said the school isn't doing enough to protect students of color held a sit-in on campus Friday.
"We're basically asking for the administration to give students of color extensions on their finals as well as any exams or any tests that they have taken after the first banana incident occurred, if they could be revisited first," said Sydney Jones, the president of the university's NAACP chapter.
American University Provost Scott Bass later responded to the student's list of demands, saying the school would allow extensions on final exams for students affected by the racist displays. He also told students the university is working on a longterm plan that includes an anti-racism center.
"I think that we're excited in the sense that, like, wow - we're actually getting a seat at the table," student Syra Kayani told News4 in response to Bass' comments.
On Thursday, American University students met to address how to combat racism on campus, after the racist incident.
At a standing-room-only town hall meeting, Dumpson spoke about what happened.
"I am appalled as a student. Second, I am outraged. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, I am nauseated, and as a target, I am numb," she said.
University president Dr. Neil Kerwin condemned the racist acts.
"What occurred here has nothing to do with the fundamental values of this university," he said.
The FBI's Civil Rights division is helping American investigate the displays. Students have urged the administration to find who committed the hate crimes and address repeated acts of racism.
In her first interview after the racist acts, Dumpson told News4 she wants to foster improved communication among students.
Campus police distributed two videos Tuesday evening of a suspect. The blurry video clips show someone walking on the empty campus. Campus police believe at least three bananas hung in nooses were placed on campus Monday between 3:45 a.m. and 4:10 a.m.
Anyone who recognizes the person is asked to call campus police at 202-885-2527 or submit an anonymous tip online. A reward of as much as $1,000 is offered for tips.