BY: ALEXIS ARNOLD & MARIAH ESPADA
During the #It'sInTheAir protest on Friday, Black Student Alliance (BSA) President Ma'at Sargeant paused in the midst of her speech after hearing that a brother of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity (also referred to as PIKE) allegedly expressed a desire to harm protesters. A brother was overheard by student Mia Allen saying, "We wish we had our cars so we can run these people over," in reference to the group of protesters blocking traffic from entering or exiting the the Bender Arena underpass.
Sargeant repeated the statement to the crowd using it as an explicit example of the racism students of color endure on American University's campus. "[Black students] are continually told that we are overreacting; that racism on this campus isn't real; that racism on this campus isn't flourishing," she said. "A fraternity on this campus â€¦ said that they wished they could run us over, so this tunnel is closed."
After the two hour long tunnel sit-in, the student's demands were eventually agreed upon by Provost Scott Bass; however, participants were still left uneasy after processing the statement that was vocalized.
Students continue to express a lack of safety and security from the institution's lack of administrative action and their peer's desensitivity, "Hearing that made me feel even more unsafe than I already felt," Indira Mohabeer said, a Frederick Douglas Scholar whom attended the event. "I feel confused as I thought they were the people that were supposed to be the leaders of our campus's social and philanthropic work. It's disheartening."
Students took to social media to express their concerns:
daily reminder that pike is still the fucking worst. pocs, we r with u. https://t.co/VYq4yxQSkBâ€” The Rival American (@TheRivalAU) May 5, 2017
Nobody who went to American University is surprised a PIKE person said this. I thought most of my classmates were bad, but PIKEs were worst. https://t.co/00j1aiHx7lâ€” Brandon Latham (@BrALatham) May 5, 2017
The American University Police have launched an official investigation.
The fraternity has yet to release a statement concerning the issue.