Lack of a trash can sparked hysteria at the University of Mississippi, better known as Ole Miss, leading to the cancellation of a Greek life retreat and providing talk show host Rush Limbaugh with an example of the descent of college campuses into politically correct comfort zones.
The university acted last weekend after a black student saw a banana peel in a tree, assumed a nefarious racial motivation and decided the retreat was automatically an unsafe space that must be immediately canceled.
The truth of the matter was later revealed.
A student named Ryan Swanson had finished chomping on the banana to which the offending peel had belonged, and without a trash can in sight, tossed the biodegradable object away to rot and be forgotten.
Instead of landing on the grass to dry and crumble, it landed in a tree, thus to play its part in the upcoming tragedy.
The banana peel was not allowed to be forgotten because Makala McNeil, president of the black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, soon passed by the tree and was horrified at what she beheld, according to The Daily Mississippian, the Ole Miss student newspaper.
“That, to me, was a slap in the face to see that banana hanging in a tree after talking about the personal truths of our campus,” McNeil said, noting that race relations on campus had been one subject discussed on the retreat earlier that day.
“The overall tone was heavy. I mean, we were talking about race in Mississippi, at the University of Mississippi and in the Greek community, so there’s a lot involved,” McNeil said.
Alexa Lee Arndt, interim director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, explained the devastation caused by the banana peel
“To be clear, many members of our community were hurt, frightened, and upset by what occurred … 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,” Arndt said.
Arndt said that the decision to cancel the Greek life event was “imperative to provide space immediately to students affected by this incident.”
“The otherwise safe space had become a battlefield of emotions,” contributor Ian Miles Cheong wrote on The Daily Caller. The Daily Mississippian said some students broke out in tears over the banana peel, telling organizers they felt unsafe.
Swanson, who began the chain of events, wrote a public apology.
“Although unintentional, there is no excuse for the pain that was caused to members of our community,” he told The Daily Mississippian.
Meanwhile, Limbaugh surveyed the account of the banana peel caper with dismay.
“Well, are they gonna stop serving bananas? Even if they do replenish things lost by ‘humidity.’ But is somebody gonna call the Southern Poverty Law Center and get them involved?” Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh boiled the incident down to its bare essentials.
“There was a student by the name of Ryan Swanson, he was walking through, he was eating a banana. He finished it and he couldn’t find a trash can to throw away the banana peel, so he tossed the banana peel and it ended up there on the trunk of a tree. And then an African-American sorority chieftain came strolling by and saw it and had a panic attack and reported it to the Greek life authorities,” he said.
“They ended the event because the sight of the banana peel in the tree caused such trauma and such discomfort,” he said. “They couldn’t stay there because the sight and trauma of the banana peel was such, so they had to come up with an alternative place for the students to go, ’cause they left the retreat in tears, noting that African-American members of the Greek life retreat didn’t feel welcome nor safe any longer attending the retreat.”
“Unbelievable,” Limbaugh mused. “I was asking Snerdley, ‘What is it about a banana peel anyway? What’s the deal?’ You know what he told me? Know what he told me? He said, ‘Well, it’s because apes, gorillas, monkeys eat bananas.’ I said, ‘So what?’ He said, ‘Well, apparently the black Greek students walking through there got it in their heads that somebody else thought that –’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me? This is the only way this thing could thought to have been racially –’ Assured me it’s the only way.”
Limbaugh said the incident is a symptom of what is wrong with college campuses.
“This is exactly the kind of sensitivity and weirdness and oddity and political correctness that students have been conditioned to expect and be traumatized by. So there you have it,” he said.
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source: Western Journalism