Black Yale Student Reported To Police For Napping In Common Room
At Yale, a white graduate student who called police on a black graduate student taking a nap has been admonished following an investigation.
On Tuesday, Sarah Braasch called Yale University police officers after finding Lolade Siyonbola sleeping in a Hall of Graduate Studies (HGS) common room of their dorm, according to a report from CNN. As Siyonbola left she was confronted by officers who proceeded to question her.
When she asked them about the complaint, one officer said, “She called us (and) said there’s somebody who appeared they weren’t…where they were supposed to be.”
Siyonbala had to show the officers her dorm room as well as her school identification card before being cleared to go. Following the incident, Yale officials defended the officers’ response.
“We believe the Yale police who responded followed procedures,” Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart said. “It is protocol in such circumstances for the police to ask for student (or staff) identification cards. Both students had to identify themselves.”
Siyonbala shared two videos from the incident: one of her interactions with Braasch and another of her interactions with the officers.
This isn’t the first time Braasch has called police on a black student.
As the Yale Daily News notes, in March, Siyonbola and Jean-Louis Reneson submitted a complaint about a separate incident to Associate Dean for Graduate Student Development and Diversity Michelle Nearon. The complaint detailed a moment where Reneson was trying to find the HGS common room for a meeting with Siyonbola and other colleagues. However, Reneson was physically blocked by Braasch from entering the room.
“Feeling ignored, I went down to the base of the twelfth floor and the eleventh floor and turned my back, but she continued to verbally assault me from the twelfth floor claiming that I ‘didn’t belong here’ and I was making her ‘uncomfortable,'” Reneson said.
The complaint then said that although Braasch left, four officers showed up in HGS to inspect a “suspicious character” on the twelfth floor. Only after Reneson proved he was a Yale student invited by Siyonbola for a meeting in HGS, the police left.
In a statement following the latest incident with Braasch, University Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews emphasized that Yale police “admonished the complaining student that the other student had every right to be present.”
Goff-Crews also wrote that she and other campus administrators, including Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins, plan to hold listening sessions with students in the near future to avoid something similar from happening again.