Culture

A black student at Yale had the cops called on her for napping in a common room

May 11, 2018

The police insisted that Lolade Siyonbola provide proof that she lived in her dorm.

Starbucks, Waffle Houses, and apparently now Ivy League dorms are all spaces where it’s illegal to be black, following an incident earlier this week where a Yale student had the cops phoned on her for napping in her dorm’s common room.

Despite the academic institution’s renown as an apparent bastion of knowledge and free-thinking, a mid-essay slumber turned into a police questioning for graduate student Lolade Siyonbola, simply because of the colour of her skin. And for those doubting race played a factor, the same student who notified the authorities over Siyonbola’s nap also called the cops a few months ago over another student hanging out in a stairwell. He was also black.

Siyonbola made sure to capture a video account of the whole affair over Facebook Live, in which she remains impressively calm throughout the prodding by police, who insist on proof that she resides in the dorm. Her proof – unlocking her apartment to show the authorities her place of residence – is deemed insufficient, who instead demand her student identification – which also isn’t enough, as the policeman needs to call in to cross-reference her student records. This only complicates things further, because Yale didn’t take the time to bother spelling Siyonbola’s name correctly in their database.

The incident seems to have at least started conversations on campus surrounding race and profiling, with Siyonbola’s Facebook post thanking “Black Yale” and everyone else for their support standing at 2300 comments, along with an email being sent out from the Dean of Yale’s Graduate School the morning after the incident pledging that “incidents like that of last night remind us of the continued work needed to make Yale a truly inclusive place” and that they are “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.”

There’s still no word as to whether or not the student who notified the police has been disciplined for her racial profiling. Watch the entire Facebook Live stream below:

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