Students at the University of Massachusetts are being told to stop making jokes about “Harambe” the deceased gorilla over claims they constitute racist “microagressions.”

According to a letter written by two resident assistants, comments regarding Harambe – who was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a young boy entered his enclosure – “are not only derogatory but also micro-aggressions.”

The letter warns that certain Harambe jokes, such as the famous “dicks out for Harambe” meme, could warrant disciplinary action.

“Phrases/hashtags which encourage the exposition of body parts runs the risk of being reported as a Title IX incident,” the letter states. “These are sexual assault incidences that not only get reported to Community Standards, but also to the Dean of Students. Needless to say, it is a very serious incident—especially for a first year student!”

By total coincidence, Harambe “is also the name of the university’s residential community for students of African heritage,” writes Reason’s Robby Soave. The letter argues that since students with African heritage may become offended – although no reports have indicated that to be the case – the use of Harambe jokes are inherently racist.

“Any negative remarks regarding ‘Harambe’ will be seen as a direct attack to our campus’s African American community,” the letter continues. “Please be careful what gets written on your whiteboards, as well as what gets written on them. If you are not the one writing these remarks, please let us or the RA on duty know.”

Despite the threatening letter, some students have vowed to continue honoring their “friend.”


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