Yale Student Guilty Of 'Sleeping While Black' To Graduate This Spring And Head To Another Prestigious University
Lolade Siyonbola is about to graduate from Yale almost a year after her video of a police interaction went viral.
Nearly a year after her interaction with campus police went viral, Lolade Siyonbola is preparing to graduate from Yale with a master’s degree in African studies with a focus on sociology.
In 2018, Siyonbola was sitting in a common room inside her dorm writing a term paper when she fell asleep. While she was sleeping inside her drom, she was woken up by campus police officers who had been called by a white woman.
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"I was livid, I was livid. As disappointed as I was, as irritated as I was, I wasn't shocked," she told local news outlet WTNH News 8 this week.
"I was just, like, the nerve. It was just, like, classic, textbook profiling. Disrupting my time, disrupting my freedom to exist because you are programmed think that all black people are dangerous," she told News 8's Mario Boone.
She filmed the 20-minute interaction with police and shared it on Facebook, where it quickly went viral and served as another example of how seemingly everyday actions by Black people are criminalized. Police asked Siyonbola for ID and questioned her extensively.
“I posted the video just for my safety. I have always said to myself since Sandra Bland was killed. I said to myself if I ever have an encounter with police I'll film myself,” Siyonbola said to ABC News’ “Good Morning America” last year.
“It had already been like a stressful week, you know, ahead of this. I had barely been sleeping, so to sort of be on the couch and for the lights to come on, I was like, ‘Who is interrupting my nap?’ after all and to see that it was Sarah, of all people, because she had called the police on my friend before. I was just like, 'You've got to be kidding me.' “I just went with God and said, ‘Whatever's meant to be will be,’ but it's just mind-boggling that you know somebody could behave like this.”
The Yale Campus Police Department participated in the Living or Napping While Black Hate Crime Hoax. The Yale Campus Police Department is continuing to harass me and badger me, including today -- by continuing to insinuate that I'm the threat and that I'm doing something wrong.— Sarah Braasch (@sarahbraasch1) May 15, 2019'
However, the incident has not stopped Siyonbola. She is graduating next Monday and has already secured a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study at Cambridge University in the U.K.
“Someone who uses the police in the way that Sarah uses it should be held accountable,” Siyonbola told GMA last year. Braasch's name can still be found on the Yale website even though she has plans to sue the school for their handling of the situation.
“Whether that's expulsion [or] some other form of disciplinary action, there needs to be some punitive measures for people who act out of racially motivated bias. If there are punitive measures I think someone like Sarah will think twice about calling the police.”
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