Three George Washington University students have been suspended from their sorority after a racially insensitive Snapchat photo began making the rounds online.
The pic shows two white Alpha Phi members, one of whom is holding up a banana peel, with the caption reading, "I'm 1/16 black."
The photo was taken and shared via Snapchat on Wednesday by a third sorority member, and screenshots of it began to spread on other social media platforms the next day, USA Today reports.
Among those who shared the screenshot on social media is George Washington University student Imani Ross, who wrote in the caption, "This is the eve of Black History Month @GWtweets @GWPeterK care to explain?"
Provost Forrest Maltzman responded to the controversy in a statement on Thursday, calling the incident "disturbing, hurtful, and not reflective of who I know we are as a community."
"As a university, we have emphasized our commitment to inclusion and have made clear that 'You are Welcome Here,'" the statement continues. "We do this through our actions and our words. Images like the one posted on social media can make people question whether they are welcome at the university, and that is unacceptable to me."
In a statement posted to their Facebook page on Friday, the university's Alpha Phi chapter took responsibility for the actions of its members and assured the public that the three students involved in the Snapchat incident are in the process of having their membership terminated.
"We want to take this opportunity to apologize without qualification and take responsibility for the actions of our members," the statement reads in part. "We are culpable for this action as a group in which a few felt comfortable making a joke that was distinctly racist, ignorant, and harmful. We are in no way trying to contextualize, excuse, or forgive the events that occurred."