UMass RAs: Harambe Jokes Are Racist ‘Micro-Aggressions’

“These are sexual assault incidences that not only get reported to Community Standards, but also the Dean of Students”. Please be careful what gets written on your whiteboards, as well as what you write on them.


The two RAs, identified only by the names Colleen and Ryan, sent a notice around to their floor that said any remarks about Harambe could be interpreted as “micro-aggressions” and as “a direct attack to our campus’s African-American community”.

However, none of this matters to two industrious resident assistants at the University of MA, who have emailed their “first years” (guessing “freshman” is too sexist too) warning them that use of Harambe memes or making Harambe jokes is racist and potentially constitutes sexual assault. UMass Amherst students on Syc 3 were told that such messages could be classified as “sexual assault”. I hope you are all enjoying your first weekend at UMass.

We wanted to take a moment to address some phrases that are being written on the whiteboards-specifically, ones involving “Harambe”.

When Sasdi was asked if this would stop students on his hall from making Harambe references, he replied, “absolutely not, we will stand by our friend no matter the consequences”, adding, “I think their [the RAs’] lack of knowledge of Harambe may have clouded their judgement”. This LOL-WTF-Fail moment kicked off with a photo of an email tweeted by a student; the details were a bit confusing but apparently the notably tasteless and mildly amusing Harambe meme was deemed to be a “microaggression” because UMass Amherst had a student living space focused on African and African American heritage called Harambe. Similar to RAPs (Residential Academic Programs).

But one university has claimed that Harambe jokes are “racist microaggressions” against black students, in a note reportedly sent to students – relating to a floor at the University of MA, called “Harambee”. The moniker the group uses is actually a Swahili word meaning “the point where people pull together”. The floor has been in existence for many years, so any negative remarks regarding “Harambe” will be seen as a direct attack to our campus’s African-American community. Needless to is a very serious incident-especially for a firs- year student!


Since a gorilla was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo back in May, Harambe the gorilla has become the target of jokes on social media, even forcing the zoo to delete its social media accounts. In response, Shkreli claimed that Harambe “memes” are bringing more attention to the importance of rights for non-human primates.

University bans white students from Harambe jokes because ‘they’re racist