White student at Yale calls police to report black student napping in dorm's common room
The black graduate student said that she was working on a paper in the Hall of Graduate Studies when she fell asleep in a common room.
A white person calling the police just because they are suspicious of a person of color in their vicinity is becoming alarmingly common in the United States.
Another black person became a victim of racial profiling in one of America's most prestigious universities, Yale. Reports state that a white student at the university called campus police after she saw a black graduate student sleeping in their dorm common room.
The black student, Lolade Siyonbola, was eventually interrogated by campus police officers after the call on early Tuesday.
Siyonbola posted two videos of the encounter on Facebook; the videos have been seen by thousands of people and have become viral on social media.
One of the users wrote in the comment section of the video: "This sorta incident breaks my heart everytime...Why do white folks always call police on black folks all the time why?!!!"
Siyonbola, in one of the videos, is confronting the responding officers when they ask her ID: "I deserve to be here. I pay tuition like everybody else. I'm not going to justify my existence here."
The black graduate student said that she was working on a paper in the Hall of Graduate Studies when she fell asleep in a common room. That is when another female student came in and turned the lights on while telling her: "You're not supposed to be sleeping here. I'm going to call the police."
Reports state that the 34-year-old graduate student then pulled out her phone and recorded a 54-second video of her encounter with the white student. The unidentified student told her: "I have every right to call the police. You cannot sleep in that room."
Siyonbola, who is studying African studies at the university, then recorded another 17-minutes-long video of her encounter with the campus police officers who began questioning her in a stairwell.
When she asked about the nature of the complaint, one of the officers told her: "She called us (and) said there's somebody who appeared they weren't ... where they were supposed to be."
Siyonbola then proceeded to unlock her dorm-room in front of the officers to show that she lived there, however, the officers continued to ask for her ID.
"You're in a Yale building and we need to make sure that you belong here," the other officer told her.
Siyonbola eventually handed her ID to the officers and said: "I really don't know if there's a justification for you actually being in the building," while adding that it felt like harassment and that she needed to get back to working on her paper.
After some confusion with Siyonbola's name in the student base, two more officers arrived at the scene. The police officers eventually told her that she was free to go.
Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart said that Siyonbola's name did not match the students database because the name on her ID card was her preferred name, therefore, it did not exactly match with her name in the university records.
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Lynn Cooley sent an email to all her graduate students on Tuesday evening, stressing on the importance on inclusivity.
"Incidents like that of last night remind us of the continued work needed to make Yale a truly inclusive place," Cooley wrote.
"I am committed to redoubling our efforts to build a supportive community in which all graduate students are empowered in their intellectual pursuits and professional goals within a welcoming environment. An essential part of that effort must be a commitment to mutual respect and an open dialog."