In today’s episode of ‘Living While Black,’ a white graduate student at Yale called the police on a Black student who fell asleep in the common area of their dorm.
The white woman confronted Lolade Siyonbola, 34, after she fell asleep on the couch in the school’s Hall of Graduate Studies.
“I have every right to call the police. You cannot sleep in that room,” she said to Siyonbola.
When police arrived at the scene, they told Siyonbola “She called us [and] said there’s somebody who appeared they weren’t … where they were supposed to be.”
The cops, who asked to see Siyonbola’s ID, proceeded to question her for more than 15 minutes before they confirmed she was a student at Yale.
They said the process was prolonged because her name was misspelled in a school database of student information.
During their interactions, Siyonbola unlocked the door to her dorm room to show them that she was a student and called the officers’ behavior “harassment.”
“I really don’t know if there’s a justification for you actually being in the building,” she said.
“I deserve to be here. I pay tuition like everybody else. I’m not going to justify my existence here.”
More than 350,000 people watched Siyonbola’s Facebook videos, with some commenters expressing their support while others commended her for remaining calm.
Lynn Cooley, the dean of Yale’s graduate school of arts and sciences, sent an email to graduate students addressing the situation on Tuesday.
“Incidents like that of last night remind us of the continued work needed to make Yale a truly inclusive place,” she wrote.
“I am 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.”
You can watch video of this infuriating incident below. We commend Lolade for handling this unnecessary encounter so calmly.