Taylor Dumpson began her first day as the first black female president of American University's Student Government Association on Monday. That same day, bananas hanging from nooses were found at three spots on campus in what the DC school's president calls a "crude and racially insensitive act of bigotry," per NBC Washington. The bananas—hung by an unknown individual around 4am Monday—were scrawled with phrases "Harambe bait" and "AKA free," a reference to Alpha Kappa Alpha, a predominantly black sorority of which Dumpson is a member, report NBC News and BuzzFeed. In a statement, the sorority says it is "outraged by a demonstration of racism" and calls for the university to protect its members.
Others students have made similar appeals, but many accuse the school of doing little in response to the incident. The president of American's Black Student Alliance—who says students threw a rotten banana at her and also targeted another female student in September—says students just don't feel supported. "We shouldn't have to be begging for our existence to be validated on the campus that we pay to be on," she tells the Washington Post. Hundreds of students marched to the registrar's office and requested withdrawal forms in protest Tuesday, though American says "racist, hateful messages have no place in our community" and that it's investigating with police. A $1,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the individual, seen in surveillance videos. (Read more racism stories.)