The white Yale student who called the police on a Black grad student sleeping in the common room of a residence hall has an extremely problematic, racially charged past, including a previous phone call to cops about a Black student.
While Yale Police released a statement Thursday saying Sarah Braasch's call was "not a police matter" and the university said they’ve “admonished” her, many are left wondering why she was not investigated for calling Black students intruders on past occasions.
For Lolade Siyonbola, she spent 20 minutes proving she was a Yale student to the university’s police, while her friend was the target of different call made by Braasch a few months ago.
In February, Siyonbola invited Jean-Louis Reneson, who is also Black, and other students to the Hall of Graduate Studies common room for a meeting. Reneson got lost in the building and was in the stairwell when Brassch physically blocked him from entering the common room, reported the Yale Daily News.
“Feeling ignored, I went down to base of the twelfth floor and eleventh floor and turned my back, but she continued to verbally assault me from the twelfth floor, claiming that I ‘didn't belong here’ and I was making her “uncomfortable,’” Reneson told Yale Daily News.
Reneson ultimately made it to the meeting with Siyonbola in the common room, where four police officers eventually showed up in search for a "suspicious character" on the 12th floor.
Reneson and Siyonbola filed a complaint in March about the incident.
While Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Lynn Cooley has addressed the February incident with Reneson, no official actions were taken.
Additionally, before Braasch attended Yale, she’s written several racially charged and hateful blog posts.
In one post for Humanist, Braasch recalled a time in middle school when her class had to debate slavery from the point of view of abolitionists and slave owners.
“I was placed on the pro-slavery side of the argument. I remember spending many an hour in the local public library poring over Time Life books… And then I had a eureka moment. Some—not many, but some—of the slaves didn’t want to stop being slaves. A small number wanted to remain with their owners or return even after being freed. I knew I had just won the debate. And indeed, I did. I led our team to victory. The pro-slavery contingent defeated the abolitionists because, in a democracy, in the land of the free, who are we to tell people that they can’t be slaves if they want to be? Who are we to tell someone that she has to be free? Who are we to tell someone that she has to be regarded as fully human?”
In a 2011 Patheos blog, she spoke out against hate crime legislation, calling it “stupid.”
“Hate crimes legislation is stupid. Seriously stupid. Abominably stupid. I hate hate crimes legislation. But, I love hate speech. Hate crimes legislation has a chilling effect on free speech and freedom of association.”
While Yale has made statements about Braasch’s most recent police call, Siyonbola feels the school needs to do more to make its Black students feel safe.
"I don't remember receiving any sort of apology from her the first time, and this time the email was very vague, just not decisive, it just wasn't direct with what the actual issues are," she told Yale's student newspaper. "Do you want Black students at Yale or do you not want Black students at Yale? If you do, then be very clear about taking decisive action so incidents do not continue to happen."
(Photo: Matt Ormseth/Hartford Courant/TNS via Getty Images)
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