Turning a Campus Hate Crime into an Opportunity for Learning

2017 Impact Report

On the morning of May 1, 2017, American University students awoke to find bananas hanging from nooses in multiple locations on campus. One day earlier, Taylor Dumpson had been sworn in as the first black woman president of AU’s student government. When she learned that her sorority’s initials were written on the bananas, Dumpson knew that she was the intended target of this racist act.
 
Three days following, ADL reached out to Dumpson and the AU administration to alert them of a new threat: a notorious white supremacist had encouraged his followers to “troll” Dumpson. Armed with this information, AU sprang into action, providing security for Dumpson and alerting the community to the cyber-hate threat.
 
ADL representatives then came to AU to facilitate a training session, providing administrators with resources and skills to combat hate speech and create a safe, inclusive campus climate. With ADL’s help, AU turned a hate crime into an occasion for education and community building.
 
As for Taylor Dumpson, she used this experience – and her platform as AU Student Government’s president – to deepen the conversation about racism on campus. Dumpson has also taken her message well beyond campus, testifying before Congress, delivering a TEDx Talk and sharing her story with major print, TV and radio outlets across the nation.

"What I learned this week is that I'm not alone; I'm not by myself in this fight for social justice." - Taylor Dumpson Share via Twitter Share via Facebook

ADL in the Media