On Friday afternoon, 30 Yale University graduate students met with administrators in what is being called a “listening session” as the fallout from last week’s #NappingWhileBlack incident continues. It came three days after white graduate student, Sarah Braasch, called the police on Lolade Siyonbola, for the apparent crime of sleeping in a common room at the Hall of Graduate Studies.
Yale announced last Wednesday night that it would hold multiple listening sessions response to the incident. The Yale Daily News reports that University officials, including Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins and University Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews acknowledged the administration did not have a plan to properly address the issues of racism and discrimination the incident brought to light.
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“I don’t know what the next step is, and I’m trying to figure it out,” Crews said. She added that her office is unlikely to come up with what the next step would be until after graduation on May 21.
Students looking for answers
Students also demanded to know how Braasch was able to call the police on multiple black students who were simply minding their business without facing any disciplinary action from the University. In February, Braasch also called the cops on Reneson Jean-Louis after he asked her how to get to the same common room.
Jean-Louis told CNN that she accused him of being an intruder and demanded to see his I.D. before calling police.
“This has been hard to share because I believe that as a Yalie, I’m blessed to have such an institution support my academic and professional ambitions,” Jean-Louis wrote Tuesday on Facebook. “However, I cannot overlook the blatant racist experiences I have had while at Yale.”
The alumni response
As of Friday morning, more than 700 alumni had signed a letter to Yale President Peter Salovey expressing anger at the University’s response to the incident. The letter called on University leaders and faculty to join student activists in the fight against the “racism and white supremacy” ingrained in Yale’s “legacy, its curriculum and pedagogy, its disciplinary policies” and other practices.
The letter, which does not make any specific demands for policy changes, also criticizes the plan to hold listening sessions, saying they will do no good without additional action.
“Days later it remains unclear exactly how, beyond listening sessions and task forces to tell us what we already know, Yale aims to take responsibility for creating a ‘welcoming environment’ for all students,” the letter said. “We hope that you, as the president of Yale University, will take public and active responsibility for this display of racist violence, and the long history of racism at Yale, in a substantive and ongoing way.”
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Source: Entertainment – The Grio