Verify: Did American University create a cafe for only non-white students?

Verify: Did American University create a cafe for only non-white students?

QUESTION:

Did American University create a cafe for only non-white students?

Did AU give only black students extra time on tests?

ANSWER:

We can verify these claims are false. 

RELATED STORY: Surveillance video released in racist incident on AU campus

SOURCES:

Kenya Sumner, American University graduate
Kelly Alexander, American University spokeswoman
American University Professor
Statement from American University

PROCESS:

One article appeared on collegefix.com with the headline "American University blocks non-whites from cafe designated as sanctuary for non-whites."

WUSA9’s Verify team could find no facts to support this claim from the sources we made contact with. The only thing we found that could be (wrongly) construed as special treatment for non-white students was contained in an email sent to the media on behalf of American University that reads in part, “Two additional meetings (with student groups) have been set and will include discussions of funding for student clubs that are committed to fairness and social justice – on the AU campus and beyond – and enhanced space and support for students.”

Again, there is no express evidence to support this claim that black students were given preferential treatment during exams. However, an AU professor emailed the WUSA9 Verify team following our initial report to say that he had, “received an e-mail from an Associate Dean encouraging ‘flexibility’  in letting students complete assignments and final exams in this ‘very difficult time’, though not specifically saying that flexibility should be targeted at African-American students.”

This email from the administration to the faculty came after a racially charged incident on campus where bananas were found hanging from nooses at three different locations on campus.

Additionally, when asked about black students getting extra time on exams, AU spokeswoman Kelly Alexander emailed Verify to say, “Since May 1 when the hate crime took place, we have been clear that students could work with the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education to ask for extensions. She worked with individual students on their requests and arrangements.”

It is clear this was a policy directed towards all students and did not single out African-Americans. 

Recent AU Master’s degree graduate Kenya Sumner confirmed to Verify when asked if these claims were true, she responded with "absolutely not." To her knowledge, neither claims are true. 

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