Washington University, Protest

Black Students Protest After Racist Incident At Washington University

The association has also been calling for the organizations the students represented, Alpha Phi and Kappa Sigma to be barred from the university and the students who participated in the incident to be expelled.

Following an incident in March involving a group of students allegedly throwing eggs, standing on tables, and using racial slurs in the presence of a group of Black cafeteria workers, Washington University’s Association of Black Students led a sit-in at the dining hall on April 5. 

As the Associated Press reports, the students met in the university cafeteria to express solidarity with the cafeteria workers who were not present the night of the alleged incident and to write them thank-you notes. 

The group posted a statement to Instagram decrying a culture of racism it says pervades not only the St. Louis private university but other elite universities around the country. 

“It shows how racism is still a part of the culture and has been fostered at Washington University, elite institutions, and historically white organizations for far too long.”

David Cook, the president of a food workers union in St. Louis, told the St. Louis Dispatch that although the eggs and racial epithets were not aimed at the dining room workers, they still felt uncomfortable. 

The President of the Association of Black Students, Taylor Robinson, an anthropology major, told the outlet the students were in disbelief about the incident.

“Myself and other students, we talked to the dining workers,” Robinson said. “They serve us food, they ask us how we are, and we care about what happened to them. We could not believe that it was true.”

The association has also called for the organizations the students represented, Alpha Phi and Kappa Sigma, to be barred from the university and for the students who participated in the incident to be expelled. 

Student Life, the independent student newspaper at Washington University, reported that the two organizations have temporarily been suspended due to their connection to the incident. 

According to a worker who remained anonymous due to fear of retaliation, the incident may have been connected to frat week or rush week based on what they heard others say. 

The Dean of Students, Rob Wild, told the paper that the university has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of its employees and that the Office of Student Affairs has been in contact with Dining Services about the incident. 

“The new member process is very traditional for sororities and fraternities,” Wild explained. “Sometimes things happen that are not on the list that’s submitted to us, and if those are violations, we’ll address them with the groups.” 

Robinson said that the university needs to take decisive action, telling the Dispatch, “The university needs to take action when things like this occur on campus. If they could do it to dining workers, who says they wouldn’t do it to a Black student?”