By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
After a Black Yale graduate student and teaching fellow, Lolade Siyonbola, posted Facebook Live videos of her White neighbor calling the police on her because she fell asleep in the common room of her building and the subsequent interrogation by officers, other Ivy Leaguers are disappointed, fed up and speaking out.
In the video Siyonbola uses her key to open her apartment and presents her identification, but due to a misspelling of her name she was not in the security system. Viewers see Siyonbola go back and forth with White officers before having a terse exchange with a Black policeman, according to AOL News.
The White woman who allegedly called the police on a Black graduate student because she was sleeping in a common area in their building. (Screenshot)
“I’m a free citizen and I do what the hell I want in this building,” Siyonbola told the officer, who explained that the property was private and that the policemen were doing their “job.”
“We determine who is allowed to be here and who is not allowed to be here regardless of whether you feel you are allowed to be here or not. That’s just the bottom line,” the officer can be heard on the video telling Siyonbola.
Once the video went viral and the Internet took offense, Yale did issue a reply. According to CBS News, the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science, Lynn Cooley, wrote in a statement, “Incidents like that of last night remind us of the continued work needed to make Yale a truly inclusive place.”
As a proud @YaleLawSch @YaleBlackAlumni, I have a few questions for @Yale & @YPD1 about this incident involving Lolade Siyonbola, the Black grad student detained by police following a complaint by a White student.
— PG Urbanist (@PGUrbanist) May 10, 2018
A PhD student at Harvard, Janan Amirah was critical of the incident, particularly considering her own experiences at another Black Ivy in New England.
“It’s New England Liberal racism. It’s the kind that sets unofficial ‘quotas,’ talks about Black people and people of color in abstract ways, teaches 50 shades of White American and European history, and has the nerve to ask if you belong there. #IBelongHere”
The hashtag “#IBelongHere” is in reference to Siyonbola’s words to the police.
“I don’t discourage Black students from coming to Harvard. But I would warn them that this place can feel like a desert sometimes. And if you made it here, you did, you didn’t take someone’s place. Despite what some people may say. #IBelongHere,” Amirah wrote on Twitter.