The racially charged photo has spread since being shared of the app Snapchat. The image is of two white female students holding up a peeled banana with the caption “Izzy: ‘I’m 1/16 black.'”
Another student at GWU, Imani Ross, tweeted the image and tagged the university saying “This is the eve of Black History Month car to explain?”
Many demanded that the university investigate the incident which led to it making this statement:
“There was an entirely inappropriate posting on social media last night. Whatever the circumstance, or true intention of those involved, the image was disturbing, hurtful and not reflective of who I know we are as a community. As a university, we have emphasized our commitment to inclusion and have made clear that “You are Welcome Here.” We do this through our actions and our words. Images like the one posted on social media can make people question whether they are welcome at the university, and that is unacceptable to me.
Unfortunately, we have heard and read about too many instances of racist language and imagery on college campuses. They reflect the need for an ongoing discourse about race. Universities are special places that thrive because of the diverse perspectives and background of those who study, teach, research and work on those campuses.
Since the report, we have been in active dialogue with the national headquarters of Alpha Phi and students on campus who have been affected. We take this very seriously.
I hope we utilize these occasions to engage in dialogue across our community. We must remember that words and symbols have tremendous consequences. And, when they are made without regard to how those who receive them react, we can cause harm and hinder the university’s ability to achieve the preeminence to which we all aspire.”
The sorority sisters were from Alpha Phi house.