Yale says police ‘admonished’ the woman who called them to remove a napping Black grad student
There was no detail on the form of admonishment.
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.
Black Yale teaching fellow Lolade Siyonbola says her white neighbor, Sarah Braasch, took the extreme measure of calling the police when she fell asleep in the common area of the building where they both live.
Siyonbola uploaded two videos to Facebook. One showed 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. In response to the headlines, Goff-Crews issued a statement to the student body that assures everyone that the university is working to “strengthen the resources available to address incidents of racial bias, discrimination and harassment.” Goff-Crews says she is “deeply troubled” by the incident. She also says Braasch was “admonished” by police officers for calling them to remove Siyonbola, but she does not detail the admonishment.
The full statement is below:
Dear Yale students,
I am deeply troubled by an incident that took place Monday night in the Hall of Graduate Studies. One graduate student called the police to report another student in the common area, who had every right to be there. The Yale police officers who responded spoke with both parties and subsequently admonished the complaining student that the other student had every right to be present.
As Vice President for Student Life, I have worked with administrators, faculty and students to strengthen the resources available to address incidents of racial bias, discrimination and harassment. This incident and others recently reported to me underscore that we have work to do to make Yale not only excellent but also inclusive. I strongly believe we must strive to create an environment that values equity and justice and in which all students are empowered to pursue their personal and professional goals – an environment that is diverse, intellectually challenging, and broadly welcoming.
Over the last 48 hours, I have been in discussion with Dean Lynn Cooley, Chief Ronnell Higgins, and other university staff, including Yale police, to better understand what exactly happened at HGS on Monday night, and how we can work together to avoid such incidents in the future.
We still have so much more to do.
As a step in the process, Chief Higgins, Dean Cooley and I will hold listening sessions with students in the coming days and months. In addition, the university will continue to implement the initiatives we announced a year ago, including the appointment and training of dean’s designees in each school to address student concerns about equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and discrimination and harassment.
This past year, we also launched a comprehensive website and adopted a discrimination and harassment reporting protocol using the Bulldog Mobile (LiveSafe) app and have been looking at ways to make this more accessible. As already planned, we will share this tool more broadly with students and clarify the reporting process.
Over the summer, I will work with administrators and student leaders to review and strategize around suggestions that we have received from faculty, staff, and students, especially with regard to improving the university’s response to incidents of discrimination and harassment. We remain committed to quickly and appropriately addressing issues of racism and bias on campus. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback on how we can improve our community together.
All of us in senior leadership recognize that incidents such as this one are being framed within a difficult national context. I want to underscore our commitment to carry out our mission as a university in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni, where all are respected.
Kimberly M. Goff-Crews