Instagram account creates space for Black students to anonymously post their experiences
@blackatamericanuniversity has created a ripple effect throughout the student body
An Instagram account called @blackatamericanuniversity, with close to 3,500 followers, has posted over 200 anonymous allegations of racism and other experiences submitted by former and current American University students.
The account’s bio states that its purpose is for “Black students and alumni to share their personal stories and experiences.” These submissions have recounted experiences with fellow students, faculty and administration. The Eagle has not independently verified the accuracy of the posts on this account.
AU is not the first school to have an Instagram account made to discuss campus incidents as students across the nation have created these accounts for their own schools.
Nick McCauley, a 2019 Kogod alumni, decided to share his experience with this account. McCauley’s submission detailed a situation from his freshman year when his roommate’s friends used racial slurs in his presence multiple times. McCauley said that, because he never felt comfortable telling anyone about the event until now, he was compelled to submit his story.
“There's about four years holding on to that, of course, for me and like so many other Black people who are kind of raised in white spaces, like it'd be easy for us to write experiences off as not a big deal or somebody being ignorant,” McCauley said.
He said the page gave him the “benefit of hindsight,” and he was glad to see that it was specifically designed for Black people to voice their experiences. McCauley also felt that sharing these experiences united them as a community. The account’s bio says that any people of color are welcome.
“The @blackatamericanuniversity social media account emerged as a space where many of our students of color have shared their lived experiences of racism and exclusion at AU,” Stacie Burgess, an AU spokesperson, wrote in an email to The Eagle. “These painful experiences will aid in informing our concrete actions towards racial equity, diversity and inclusion at AU and bolstering efforts of our Inclusive Excellence Plan.”
On July 2, the University announced the creation of an Office of Equity and Title IX that will enhance anti-discrimination education and training for students, staff and faculty.
Campus groups are also responding to efforts that bring awareness of the experiences of students of color. AU College Democrats’ leaders resigned amid allegations of lack of diversity. The executive board said that they stepped down to make space for increased representation in the organization.
Latinx and American Student Organization wrote in an Instagram post on June 27, “Moving forward, we will focus on redirecting our energy towards truly serving and representing the whole of the Latinx diaspora at American University,” the post read.