White Woman Calls Cops On Black Yale Grad Student For Napping In Dorm Common Room

Another day in modern America, another person of color who was questioned by the police for doing absolutely nothing.

Recently, Lolade Siyonbola, a grad student in Yale’s African Studies program, fell asleep in the common area of her campus dormitory (as you often do when you’re a college student). She received a rude awakening when a white Ph.D. candidate living in the dormitory called the cops to alert them to the presence of an “unauthorized person.”

Siyonbola was then forced to answer roughly 15 minutes worth of questions from campus law enforcement officers in order to prove that she was indeed a student (even after she used her key to open the door to her dorm room).

Siyonbola filmed the incident on her phone and made sure to capture footage of the woman who had called the cops in the first place.

On Facebook, Siyonbola identified the woman as Sarah Braasch, a Ph.D. student in Yale’s Philosophy department. This is apparently not the first time that Braasch has called the police on other students.

“I deserve to be here,”Siyonbola says in the video. “I paid tuition like everybody else. I am not going to justify my existence here. It’s not even a conversation.”

Siyonbola is not in any sort of trouble, but the experience has obviously been frustrating. The student posted on Facebook that the “Black Yale community is beyond incredible and is taking good care of me,” and that “I know this incident is a drop in the bucket of trauma Black folk have endured since Day 1 America, and you all have stories.”

Lynn Cooley, the dean of Yale’s graduate school of arts and sciences, sent out an email to graduate students about the incident, offering an apology and inviting a conversation.

Twitter was extremely supportive of how Siyonbola handled the incident.

The incident also prompted people to share more serious threads about the racism that is often inherent to elite academic institutions …

… as well as conversations about white private citizens “policing” public spaces.


So, yeah. It’s officially time for busy-bodies to lay off the flippant calls to the cops about black people. It’s not only racist and straight-up rude — but, as we’ve seen, it also frequently puts people of color in a life-or-death situation.