Surveillance camera installed at the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall to catch banana tossers
- Student outcry after General Manager of Liberty University Dining Services Duke Davis took bananas off the menu due to students tossing them on the roofs led Davis to return them.
- With new surveillance camera, Davis says he has caught several banana tossers on camera and asks that they turn themselves in.
General Manager of Liberty University Dining Services Duke Davis has brought bananas back to the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall, following the installation of a new camera that Davis said has captured several students throwing bananas on the roof.
Davis had workers remove bananas from the dining hall several times, due to what he calls a longstanding prank. After the third incident this year, the university decided to install a camera on the roof of the dining hall. Since then, the pranks have diminished and bananas are available in the dining hall.
Beginning in the spring of 2017, Davis received a call from a professor in the Science Hall across the street asking if Davis was aware of bananas on the roof. Davis then went out to look at the roof.
“With the new road, the roof was at eye level now, and I could see there were about four or five bananas there,” Davis said.
Shortly after, Davis put in a work order with facilities to clean up the bananas. At that point, Davis decided it was a prank and did not take action. Over the rest of the spring semester, Davis called Liberty facilities several more times. At one point, Davis decided to take bananas off the dinner menu, hoping that by cutting the availability at nighttime, there would be less bananas thrown.
Three weeks into the fall semester of 2017, Davis, once again, took bananas off the menu. After an outcry from students, though, he brought the bananas back.
“There were students in banana costumes, and so many tweets,” Davis said. “Athletes were calling me, saying that they were cramping at night, because they couldn’t get potassium. I didn’t want to punish students because of, maybe, five people.”
Students like Courtney Sylvester appealed to Davis while wearing banana suits and holding a sign that read, “Mr. Rot We Want Our Bananas Back!” Students also took to Twitter, like @lizeckhart, who thanked Davis for bringing bananas back and tweeted that she was a supporter of the dining hall or Abby Summers, who tweeted “I LOVE YOU” in response to an announcement that bananas had returned to the dining hall.
There were also students who decided to make Internet memes about the occurrences. One such meme on the LU Memes Facebook page featured a banana with a drawn-on frown and tearful eye that held a sign that read “#StopTheMadness.”
Davis said he is happy to work with students on the issue.
“I’m grateful that those students … who want bananas back are helping make a campus where this is no longer acceptable,” Davis said. “I consider them great allies.”
Now, a new camera on the roof of the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall will help to catch the pranksters.
“Banana Tossers – LUPD installed a camera to watch out for the vandalism,” Davis tweeted. “LU Students it’s not worth it, save yourself by just not doing it.”
Despite that warning, Davis claims that he has video of one of several pranksters. “I just saw the video of the banana … Tosser! … U busted bruh [sic]!!” Davis tweeted. Davis said that banana tosser was a Liberty University College For a Weekend guest who current Liberty students dared to throw a banana.
Davis also tweeted about more unsuspecting students who have been caught on film, tweeting that, “For the two young ladies who tossed bananas on the roof the other day, turn yourself in so it shows favorable when LU officials come for you.”
If the CFAW guest had been a student, Davis said, he would have worked with the Student Conduct offices on campus to ensure the banana thrower was caught and punished—preferably by serving time in the dining hall washing dishes.
“I’m completely serious,” Davis said. “These young people don’t understand how much money they’re making me waste.”
Davis orders roughly 25 crates of bananas every day that cost $50 each. If he has to remove bananas from off the menu for three days to discourage banana throwers, 10 to 50 of those crates are wasted, totaling anywhere from $500 to $2,500 in lost bananas. That is before adding the cost of facilities workers who have to clean the roof.
“My workers aren’t allowed to get on the roof,” Davis said. “So every time, I have to put in a work order with the maintenance guys … it takes them an hour or so to clean off the roof every time.”
Davis said this has happened three times this semester, which means anywhere from $1,500 to $7,500 has been wasted.
For the moment, bananas are back in the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall, and, according to Davis, they will be staying, as long as the student body and the new camera deter banana tossers.