No charges will be filed against students who defaced a Clemson college banner with bananas, school officials said.
The students responsible for defacing the African-American history banner by hanging bananas on it came forward, but Clemson University’s police chief said no crime had been committed under state law, meaning the students would not be charged, though they would undergo a student conduct review.
“They get to go home tonight, sleep in their beds and be happy and I live on this campus right across the street from Fort Hill and if I wake up tomorrow morning and something else happens again, what am I supposed to do as a student? I came here — Clemson is my dream school — and I feel like my dreams are being affected due to the racism and discrete discrimination to my race, and I don’t think that’s right,” said sophomore La’Portia Perkins.
Campus Police Chief Eric Hendricks said that the decision not to charge the students had been discussed with the solicitor.
“We conferred with them,” Hendricks said. “Come to find out the elements of the offense itself of what the incident is a perishable fruit on a banner from state law perspectives that does not fit the elements of a crime, so we didn’t have a crime to pursue at the time.”
Clemson President, Jim Clements, sent out a campus-wide message Monday: “Dear Campus Community: Earlier today a banner highlighting our University’s history was defaced. This type of conduct is hurtful, disrespectful, unacceptable and will not be tolerated… Clemson University is committed to providing a safe, encouraging environment which supports and embraces inclusiveness at every level.”
Today students began a sit-in using the hashtags #BeingBlackAtClemson and #SikesSitIn that the university address the racial climate on campus. One student held a sign that said “The only time we talk about injustice is when it deals with football tickets,” one sign said, a reference to the current controversy about possible athletic fees for student tickets.”
Clemson’s VP of student affairs said the school will address the matter through “its standard procedure.”