The black Yale graduate student who was asleep in her dorm common room and had campus police sicced on her wants the school to expel the student who called the cops.
On May 7, Lolade Siyonbola was napping in the Hall of Graduate Studies common room and ended up being “interrogated” by Yale Police for about fifteen minutes. That amount of time may have been due, as explained by an officer, to Siyonbola’s name not being spelled correctly in the database utilized by the YPD.
Siyonbola posted two videos on Facebook: one of Sarah Braasch, the student who called the police (allegedly because she didn’t know if Siyonbola was a dorm resident), and another of her encounter with the officers on the scene.
Refinery29 notes that in the latter video, an officer “check[s] [Siyonbola’s] ID to make sure she ‘belongs at Yale,” and then adds “note that she opens her apartment to them, which is in the same Yale dorm where she fell asleep.”
(Not noted by Refinery29 or the Yale Daily News is that it is a black officer with whom Siyonbola gets into a verbal tiff about whether she is being “harassed.”)
The police (rightly) concluded Siyonbola had every right to be there, informed Braasch of such, and admonished the latter that the circumstance was “not a police matter.”
Amanda Joyce Hall, a Black PhD candidate, wrote a letter to Dean [Lynn] Cooley calling on the administration “to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for racial policing that ends in the expulsion of the aggressors.” She asked that Yale ban the perpetrator from graduate student housing and from teaching undergraduates, as her racism is a threat to the school’s commitment to diversity.
“We will not continue to allow our bodies to be the target of white supremacist politics of discursive hatred, intolerance, and ignorance at a university whose commitment to us is only symbolic and for the brochures,” she wrote. …
Siyonbola, a Black graduate student, said she thinks Braasch should be disciplined or expelled for wasting police resources — and many students and alums on Twitter agree, having started the hashtag #ExpelSarahBraasch.
“Someone who uses the police in the way that Sarah used the police should be held accountable,” Siyonbola told Good Morning America. “There needs to be punitive measures for people who act out of racially motivated bias.”
In an interview with CNN, Siyonbola also said she thinks the police officers wouldn’t have detained her for as long — 15 minutes — if she were white, since she opened her apartment for them, making it clear that she lived in that dorm.
The Black Student Alliance at Yale issued a statement noting the whole event “speaks to larger issues of defamation and over-policing within the Black community.”
The Yale Daily News reports Braasch had contacted campus police back in February when (black) student Jean-Louis Reneson — invited by Siyonbola — got lost in the dorm. According to the complaint filed by Siyonbola and Reneson, Braasch “physically blocked” Reneson from entering the dorm common room after he had asked her for directions.
University Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews said the university “will not discuss any disciplinary consequences” for Braasch “as per federal law and the University’s ‘commitment to student confidentiality.’”