A racially charged photo posted by sorority members at George Washington University sparked outrage from student leaders, who called on administrators to ban the Greek group from campus, according to reports.
The picture, which was shared wildly on social media last week, showed two members of the Alpha Phi sorority posing with a banana peel and included the caption: “Izzy: I’m 1/16 Black,” WJLA reported.
The girls weren’t identified but they, and a third student who took the photo, had been kicked out from the sorority, according to the school’s student newspaper, The GW Hatchet.
The sorority also apologized on its Facebook page, writing: “We recognize that there are issues within our organization relating to our privilege and lack of diversity, and we are committed to listening to the voices of those who have been harmed by the actions of those individuals and by our actions as a chapter.”
On Monday, the Student Association Senate voted unanimously to banish the sorority from campus.
“I think it’s a really good decision since the university is moving forward to combat racism,” one student told WJLA.
Hundreds of students had gathered in a lecture hall to share emotional stories about racism and their concerns about culture on campus.
“I think it’s an overreaction,” another student told the outlet.
While the student government’s action didn’t get the university’s approval yet, University President Thomas Leblanc told the student paper Tuesday that the incident would lead to a thorough examination of Greek life at the school and a broader conversation about race on campus.
“This opened up a space to say, ‘You know, it’s bothered me that I’m a person of color and I’ve never been invited to X, it’s bothered me that the institution doesn’t have these things for us but seems to have these things for those students,’” he said. “So just that opening has turned out to be beneficial and something we need to take advantage of.”
This isn’t the first time Alpha Phi has come under fire.
A sorority sister in its chapter at the University of Alabama was booted from the school after she posted racist videos on social media in which she used the n-word last month.