Cops Called On Black Student For Eating Lunch In Common Room Because She Looked 'Out Of Place'

NORTHAMPTON, MA - FEBRUARY 3: The brand new Ford Hall at Smith College dwarfs the Green Street Cafe. Smith College would also like build in the Green Street Cafe's spot, which is causing a dispute headed for court. (Photo by Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Cops Called On Black Student For Eating Lunch In Common Room Because She Looked 'Out Of Place'

Someone at Smith College called into campus law enforcement, prompting a school officer to confront Oumou Kanoute.

Published August 3rd

The innovation of racism in America has recently been to try to call police on black people in every location possible.

First it was in a park with #BBQBecky, then it was on a sidewalk with #PermitPatty. Now, it’s a dorm common area where a black student at Smith College was just trying to enjoy her lunch.

Earlier this week, a campus employee called local police to report Oumou Kanoute, who they believed looked “out of place.” An officer subsequently responded and confronted Kanoute to ask what she was doing in the dorm.

Kanoute, a native New Yorker, is an Undergraduate student at the college who was working as a teaching assistant and residential adviser at one of Smith’s summer programs.

Rather than eat in the dining hall on Tuesday (July 31), Kanoute decided to take her food to a common room and eat alone.

Within minutes, a white police officer walked up to her and asked, “We were wondering what you were doing here?”

Kanoute whipped out her phone and recorded video of what was going on, which she later posted on Facebook and is heard nervously responding, “I was just eating my lunch.” She later revealed that she was told that someone called in to campus police and described her as  a “suspicious black male” who was “out of place.”

“This person didn't try to bring their concerns forward to me, but instead decided to call the police,” she wrote on Facebook. “I did nothing wrong, I wasn't making any noise or bothering anyone. All I did was be black. It's outrageous that some people question my being at Smith College, and my existence overall as a women of color.

“I was very nervous, and had a complete meltdown after this incident. It's just wrong and uncalled for,” she continued.

Smith College is responding to the incident and says that while it’s raising “concerns” in the community, they’re refusing to reveal the person’s name who called in to them. They claim that it could prevent others from calling the police in other cases.

Kanoute herself is demanding the release of the person’s name who called in. “I demanded that the administration share the name of the person who made the 911 call so that they can confront and acknowledge the harm done to me as a student,” she wrote of Facebook. “I worked my hardest to get into Smith, and I deserve to feel safe on my campus.”

Written by Paul Meara

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