This weekend's Greek Life retreat at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) was cancelled after a banana peel was found hanging from a tree. (See the photo below -- that was the image that made the social media rounds.)
"To be clear, many members of our community were hurt, frightened, and upset by what occurred at IMPACT," Interim Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Alexa Lee Arndt remarked in an email between Greek leaders, according to The Daily Mississippian. "Because of the underlying reality many students of color endure on a daily basis, the conversation manifested into a larger conversation about race relations today at the University of Mississippi."
Apparently, a student Ryan Swanson, admitted to throwing the banana peel in a tree after he was unable to locate a garbage can, and it was later spotted by Alpha Kappa Alpha President Makala McNeil, who leads one of the campuses black sororities.
"The overall tone was heavy. I mean, we were talking about race in Mississippi and in the Greek community so there’s a lot involved," McNeil recalled, later adding that she and her friend were "all just sort of paranoid for a second" after spotting the banana.
After word of the banana spread throughout the retreat, leaders decided to end the event early. Arndt explained that she "felt it was imperative to provide space immediately to students affected by this incident."
According to The Daily Mississippian, some students left the retreat in tears, with McNeil noting that they "didn’t feel welcome" and "didn't feel safe."