We can now add “studying while Black” back to the list of seemingly innocuous daily tasks that keep getting a people of color reported to authorities.
Pabló Gonźalez, a Black student at Catholic University of America says he’s never been able to swipe his student ID at the university’s law library, so whenever he needs to gain access he always has to get buzzed in.
But on October 10th, Gonźalez noticed the door was open, so he walked in, showed his ID and then informed librarian Brittany McNurlin he was there to study.
“She was pretty rude,” he said. “She said: ‘The law library is for law library students.’ So I told her that I realized that, but that we’d been given permission to use the library.”
Despite explaining that faculty had given him permission to be on the premises, McNurlin was reluctant to allow him access at first. After several minutes of debate she finally conceded. But something about the exchange had felt heavy-handed, prompting the young man to make an inquiry.
“Because the entire transaction was so negative, I went back and said, ‘Can I have your supervisor’s information?’ I didn’t say anything else,” Gonźalez explained.
McNurlin refused the request, which led him to ask a series of additional questions.
“I said: ‘I’m asking for the information of the managing librarian of this facility and you’re refusing? On what basis? Just because you don’t like the way I’m asking?’”
When the librarian realized the student knew his rights, she begrudging “snatched” her supervisor’s business card from her desk and handed it to him.
“I asked some more questions about why she took so long to give me the information … She said I was being argumentative and that she didn’t like my tone,” Gonźalez said, to which he replied: “I didn’t ask for your personal opinion. I just asked for information about this facility so that I can use it.”
That’s when McNurlin called the police.
When she informed Gonźalez of what she was doing, he didn’t take the bait and calmly asked her: “On what basis? Because you don’t like the questions I’m asking?”
To which the librarian replied, “I’ve answered your questions. You didn’t appreciate my answers …” She then allegedly admitted that she has done this at least one other time in an incident “very similar to this.”
A half a dozen officers showed up to the facility and after McNurlin told them he was “becoming argumentative,” and she “did not appreciate it” they forced him to leave.
Gonźalez met with the human resource department at Catholic University who he claimed attempted to dismiss his story until he pulled out his phone and showed them video evidence he’d had the foresight to record during the altercation.
The young man says this isn’t the first time he’s been harassed at the university in this way and on one occasion he was even racially profiled by campus police.
“I’m not going to accept the racism that’s on this campus,” he stated. “I’m not going to be quiet, and I’m going to challenge it.”
You can check out his video, below.