The American University in Washington, D.C., has agreed to allow black students an extension on their final exams all while preserving a “sanctuary for people of color.” All of this, came following an alleged racially charged incident that led to student protests.
Last week, it was reported that the campus was decorated with bananas hung in nooses with the letters “AKA” and the word “Harambe” written on them. “AKA,” the acronym for the black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.
The student group organized a protest in response to this incident, as a scheduled meeting between black leaders of campus and the school’s administration was rescheduled. The students blocked the traffic and set certain demands for school administrators.
The protestors laid out three major demands, as mentioned by Campus Reform:
“ ‘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.’”
Freshman Jaha Knight stated, “These are the things that we have demanded from the university because of the oppression and discrimination and the hate we have faced, not just in these current events, but every day on this campus.”
American University Provost Scott Bass reportedly arrived at the scene and verbally agreed to the demands. “There’s nothing more important, in terms of my administration, than being a multicultural campus,” Bass said to the protesters.
“We are interested in getting to the bottom of the issue, and the sooner we can do that, the better,” he continued. “But I will also say that that doesn’t stop our commitment to do more. This is just a minimum. … This is not just one incident. It’s a deeper issue in our community.”