Video circulates of AU shuttle bus driver closing door on passenger’s arm

University responds that incident is ‘under review’

Video circulates of AU shuttle bus driver closing door on passenger’s arm

A video circulating on social media this weekend showed an American University bus driver closing the bus’ door on a passenger’s arm and refusing to let other passengers off the bus after a student allegedly violated the University’s mask policy.

Louri-Ann Foster, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she was exiting an AU bus when the driver, upon noticing a student wearing their mask incorrectly, shut the bus doors, trapping Foster’s arm and bag containing a laptop outside of the bus. The driver proceeded to pull away from the stop near Kerwin Hall, Foster said.

The Instagram account @stoolamerican posted a video of the incident on Saturday with the caption “Breaking: Wonk bus driver holds AU students hostage.”

In the video that she recorded, Foster can be heard telling the bus driver to open the door: “My hand is in the door.” 

AU shuttle bus doors are pliable rubber, Assistant Vice President for Community and Internal Communications Elizabeth Deal confirmed to The Eagle via email.

After the driver noticed Foster’s phone, he opened the doors and allowed the passengers to exit, Foster said. While she did not sustain any injury, Foster said she is “concerned” about how the situation would have played out had she not captured the interaction on video.

“Had I not started recording, I don’t think [the driver] would’ve let us off at Kerwin [Hall],” Foster said. “I just really didn’t know how long that was going to last.”

While she and her family are looking into legal matters, Foster said she would like a proper apology and response from the University.

“There’s just so much concern about how [the driver] handled that situation, especially because it had nothing to do with me,” Foster said.

In response to the video, the University’s Instagram account commented on the post, saying, “We are aware of the situation shown in this video and are working to obtain further information. The safety of our community is our priority and we appreciate when concerns are shared with us so we can take the appropriate steps. Please contact shuttle operations at shuttle@american.edu.”

Deal told The Eagle in an email that the University is investigating the matter thoroughly. 

“There are health and safety rules for the AU bus,” Deal wrote. “The driver was re-enforcing those rules to a student, who is a repeat offender of not wearing his mask or wearing it properly.”

Foster said she agrees with the mask mandate, but that the bus driver could have handled the situation differently.

“I completely agree and understand how vital mask mandates are, but at the same time, to be a danger toward other students simply because one student isn’t abiding is completely unethical and unsafe,” Foster said.

In an email to The Eagle, Alef Worku, an AU Shuttle spokesperson, said the incident is “under review.”

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

zbell@theeagleonline.com

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