This is Not MY AU: Thoughts In Response to Racial Attacks at American University
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

This is Not MY AU: Thoughts In Response to Racial Attacks at American University

On Tuesday, September 26, confederate flag posters with stalks of cotton attached were posted on bulletin boards around American University, this is my response.

197
This is Not MY AU: Thoughts In Response to Racial Attacks at American University
Twitter

I woke up on Wednesday morning ready to face my day. I checked facebook like I normally do and saw a picture of a Confederate flag with stalks of cotton attached to it. I immediately realized that for the second time this year, AU had been the subject of racist attacks. I was shocked. While I had read about this spring’s incident and had seen videos of the protests that followed, I was not on campus. This time was different, I read the emails sent from our President Sylvia Burwell and Public Safety written to inform the community of the events, and I looked on Facebook for any more news about the incident. The first thing I said to my friend as I greeted her this morning was “did you hear,” and I walked into class feeling uneasy, wondering if anyone would bring it up. Sure enough, someone asked my professor if she had heard about what happened last night. She had not and a few students explained it to her and anyone in the class who hadn't heard. I sat there in shock still trying to process why someone would come onto my campus and post such vile signs. While trying to collect my thoughts, I composed a facebook post to inform my family and friends back home about what had happened.

It's during these times when I feel ashamed to be on this campus. It is time for us to stand together and support one another. This kind of speech is not welcome here at American University, and these actions are not a reflection of the AU community. The timing and placement of these signs make this all even more horrifying. That being said, the fact that a middle-aged man felt it necessary to come onto campus and post these signs shows us what kind of a world we live in. I stand in support of all of those affected by these events.

Halfway through the day, as students, faculty members, administrators, alumni, and community members sit down at the Kay Spiritual Center for a town hall, I couldn’t help but think. How is it possible that a supposed member of a White supremacist group called “D.C. Counter Resistance” can come onto our campus with the intent to harm? How is it possible for someone to physically come inside our buildings at 10:00 at night? What steps are we taking to secure our campus and prevent these types of actions in the future?

For many, the obvious answer is additional police and security personnel on campus, but for others, especially Black students, this is seen as a threat to personal; safety. We are and have always been to the best of my knowledge, an open campus, so there is no way we would close it to the public, but as Dr. Ibram Kendi mentioned in today’s town hall, some universities with open campuses require students to swipe their ID’s to get into any campus building. I do not know anything about our budget here at AU, but if you have to swipe into your residence hall, why shouldn't you have to swipe into the Library or the Student Center, both of which are open 24 hours.

Also during the town hall, Student Body president Taylor Dumpson, who’s sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha was the subject of a racially motivated attack last semester, the day she assumed office as the first Black Female President, brought up the list of grievances created after the last town hall in May. She stated that while the University had taken some steps to address students’ concerns, there is still a long way to go. According to Taylor, there has been an attack of some kind every single semester since her Freshman year. No student should have to see these acts of hate in a place where they should feel safe and supported. While the administration has come out in support of all students, but particularly students of color and “other marginalized groups”, which demonstrates the values of inclusion talked about by President Burwell and others, there are more productive steps they can take, namely addressing the grievances put forth this spring.

As a White woman, I was not personally attacked by these signs, but as an American University Student, an American, and a person, I can’t help but feel angered and upset. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail “injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” While we recover from these attacks as a community, it is important for everyone to recognize their place, realize that some people are hurting more than others, and reflect on their own values.

This attack does not represent my values, nor the values of American University, and I stand with you.


Additional Resources:

Statement from President Sylvia Burwell

The Blackprint AU - BREAKING: Racist Symbols Found on Campus...Again

The Washington Post - Confederate flag posters, with cotton attached, found at American University

The New York Times - Confederate Flags With Cotton Found on American University Campus

AJ+ Video

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
pexels

Life is hard, and is even harder with a mental illness. Even if you aren't clinically diagnosed with depression or anxiety, in the hardest times of your life you can probably associate with several of these thoughts. Fear not, everyone else is thinking them too. Maybe we just need a big, loving, group therapy session (or six).

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

A Letter To My Heartbroken Self

It will be okay, eventually.

3263
A Letter To My Heartbroken Self
Pexels

Breakups are hard. There's nothing comparable to the pain of losing someone you thought would be in your life forever. Someone who said all the right things at the right times. Someone who would give you the reassurance you needed, whenever you needed it. And then one day, it just... stops. Something changes. Something makes you feel like you're suddenly not good enough for him, or anyone for that matter.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America

For the first time since 1994 the United States will host a world cup (for men's soccer)

5785
2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America
Skylar Meyers

The FIFA World Cup is coming to North American in 2026!

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

An Open Letter to Winter

Before we know it April will arrive.

7399

Dear Winter,

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

6 Questions To Ask Yourself When Cleaning Up Your Room

This holiday break is the perfect time to get away from the materialistic frenzy of the world and turn your room into a decluttered sanctuary.

6541
Pixar

Cleaning isn’t just for spring. In fact, I find school’s holiday break to be a very effective time for decluttering. You’re already being bombarded by the materialistically-infatuated frenzy of society’s version of Christmas, Hanukah, etc. It’s nice to get out of the claustrophobic avarice of the world and come home to a clean, fresh, and tidy room. While stacking up old books, CDs, and shoes may seem like no big deal, it can become a dangerous habit. The longer you hang onto something, whether it be for sentimental value or simply routine, it becomes much harder to let go of. Starting the process of decluttering can be the hardest part. To make it a little easier, get out three boxes and label them Donate, Storage, and Trash. I'm in the middle of the process right now, and while it is quite time consuming, it is also so relieving and calming to see how much you don't have to deal with anymore. Use these six questions below to help decide where an item gets sorted or if it obtains the value to stay out in your precious sanctuary from the world.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments