Sarah Braasch is the woman who called the police on a Black grad student napping in a common area of a residence hall, according to Yale News.
Braasch called the police when she saw Lolade Siyonbola sleeping, which resulted in Siyonbola being interrogated by police for nearly 20 minutes as they attempted to verify her student status. Despite demonstrating that she had a key to her room, a working Yale email address, and a student ID, the police questioned Siyonbola until they got confirmation of her student status in the school’s database. Apparently, her name was spelled wrong in the system, delaying their ability to definitively verify her student status.
Siyonbola captured two videos of that evening and posted them to Facebook. One showed the neighbor, Sarah Braasch, filming her and telling Siyonbola that the common room is not for sleeping. The other video was of her interaction with police once they arrived. The videos have since gone viral.
Here are five things to know about Sarah Braasch, the woman who called the police on a fellow Yale graduate student for taking a nap in a common room.
1. She is working on her fifth degree
According to her bio on Yale’s website, Braasch is working on her fifth degree, a PhD in philosophy. She already has two engineering degrees, a law degree (she’s a member of the New York State Bar), and a master’s degree in philosophy. The bio says her master’s in philosophy was obtained so “to address the sub-human legal status of the world’s women at the source, the philosophical foundations of law.”
2. She won a middle school class debate about the Civil War with pro-slavery arguments
In a 2010 blog post for Humanist, Braasch recalled a time in middle school when her classed was assigned to debate the pros and cons of slavery.
“I know, in retrospect it seems a bit odd to me as well. But, in a sense, what better way is there to learn about any historical subject than to debate it? And rather than debate the subject from the perspectives of late twentieth-century teens, we approached it as if we were abolitionists or southern plantation owners during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency,” she wrote.
“I was placed on the pro-slavery side of the argument. I remember spending many an hour in the local public library poring over Time Life books… And then I had a eureka moment. Some—not many, but some—of the slaves didn’t want to stop being slaves. A small number wanted to remain with their owners or return even after being freed. I knew I had just won the debate. And indeed, I did. I led our team to victory. The pro-slavery contingent defeated the abolitionists because, in a democracy, in the land of the free, who are we to tell people that they can’t be slaves if they want to be? Who are we to tell someone that she has to be free? Who are we to tell someone that she has to be regarded as fully human?”
3. She supports banning burqas
In that same Humanist blog post, which was ultimately about a law banning burqas, Braasch wrote about being against hate speech legislation.
“For the record, I am an incipient First Amendment lawyer and a staunch church-state separatist. I am an intractable free speech defender and a vehement opponent of hate crime legislation. I stake the claim that morality has no place in the law. I support the anticipated public burqa ban in France. And I would support a similar ban in the United States and anywhere else in the world.”
4. She is against hate crime legislation
From a 2011 blog post on Patheos : “Hate crimes legislation is stupid. Seriously stupid. Abominably stupid. I hate hate crimes legislation. But, I love hate speech. Hate crimes legislation has a chilling effect on free speech and freedom of association.”
5. She refers to her time as a Jehovah’s Witness as being a “slave”
Braasch left the Jehovah’s Witness faith as a teenager and looks upon her time in that religion as enslavement. “I was a slave who extolled the virtues of being a slave. I was a slave who insisted that I had chosen slavery of my own free will, of my own volition, as a conscious and educated choice. Because, you see, I was a Jehovah’s Witness who had been brainwashed from birth to believe that God had created me subhuman–below man,” she wrote in a blog post.
Yale’s Vice President of Student Life, Kimberly Goff-Crews issued a statement to students yesterday in response to the #NappingWhileBlack incident that occurred in a residence hall earlier this week. Yale says police ‘admonished’ Braasch for calling them to remove the napping Black grad student.