A White student at Yale University called the police on a Black graduate student who was taking a nap in the dorm’s common area, The Associated Press reports.
Lolade Siyonbola was asleep Monday on a couch in Yale’s Hall of Graduate Studies when she was awoken by a student who told her she was not allowed to be sleeping in the common area and then proceeded to call the police.
Siyonbola posted videos of her telling officers that she was a student at the university and that she had a dorm room there.
Officers asked Siyonbola for her identification to prove she was a student, which she reluctantly did but also showed the officers that she had a key to her dorm room, which she eventually opens.
“I deserve to be here,” she said 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 told authorities that this isn’t the first time this student has had a negative interaction with a Black student. She said her friend was in the stairwell when he had been reported by the White student.
In an email on Tuesday to graduate students, the dean of Yale’s graduate school of arts and sciences, Lynn Cooley, said Siyonbola had a right to be in the building, according to USA Today.
“Incidents like that of last night remind us of the continued work needed to make Yale a truly inclusive place,” Cooley wrote in the email. “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.”
Siyonbola posted on Facebook that she was overwhelmed by the support she’s received since the incident.
“Black Yale community is beyond incredible and is taking good care of me. 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,” she wrote.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.