Nearly 3,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Yale remove Sarah Braasch GRD ’20 from school as punishment for calling the police on a black graduate student who was napping in the Hall of Graduate Studies common room.

A video of Braasch confronting the black student, Lolade Siyonbola GRD ’19, in HGS went viral earlier this month, generating headlines around the world. The petition also notes an earlier incident in which Braasch called the police on a different black graduate student who was lost in HGS at the time. And it refers to an article Braasch wrote for Daylight Atheism in 2011 titled “Be Careful What You Wish For (Why I Hate Hate Crimes Legislation, But I Love Hate Speech).”

“We call on Yale’s President Peter Salovey, Dean Cooley of Yale’s Graduate School of Arts & Science, and Yale University Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Goff-Crews, to remove Braasch from Yale because her stated philosophy is one that violates the moral and intellectual codes of the university; because her multiple counts of harassment and racism against other students violates the safety of students of color,” reads the petition. “Students of color at Yale should not be re-traumatized by seeing Braasch on campus this fall. We also insist on a mental health evaluation for Braasch so that she can be prevented from doing harm to herself or others.”

Braasch, Siyonbola, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Lynn Cooley and Vice President for Communications Eileen O’Connor did not respond to requests for comments.

A coalition of black graduate and professional students, including Siyonbola, has also released an open letter separate from the petition calling for Yale administrators to implement a “university-wide comprehensive plan for dismantling white supremacy, structural racism, racial policing, and racial aggression at Yale and in the city of New Haven, to be implemented over the course of three academic years.”

Siyonbola has posted about both the petition and open letter on Facebook, condemning Yale for not directly criticizing Braasch’s actions or the police officers who questioned Siyonbola for roughly 15 minutes after she was reported. In emails to the Yale community, University administrators have said they were “troubled” by the incident and noted that police officers “admonished” Braasch for calling the cops on a student who was entitled to be in HGS. Administrators have previously declined to comment on Braasch’s disciplinary status, citing confidentiality rules.

The open letter lists nine specific recommendations, including the creation of a Title VI Racial Discrimination and Harassment Office to replace the current Committee on Racial and Ethnic Harassment, which the letter says lacks the “structure or resources to adequately address this issue.”

Other recommendations include a University-wide curricular and teaching requirement focused on the history of racial violence in the United States for graduate students; a zero-tolerance stance on racial harassment; a rule prohibiting Yale police officers from bringing guns to non-violent disputes on campus; the recognition of the Graduate Students of Color Coalition, which was recently revived by Siyonbola and other students, as a body on par with the school’s official student council, the Graduate Student Assembly; and several other initiatives calling for Yale to admit and hire more people of color.

“For students of color, we require at least a 50% increase in Black and Native students who are descendants of chattel slavery or settler colonialism in the United States, followed by those who are descendants of chattel slavery in the Caribbean and the Americas, and finally those who are current or former subjects of Western imperialism across the African continent, for all of whom tuition is free,” the letter states.

Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the possibility of disarming Yale police officers in certain situations.

Britton O’Daly | britton.odaly@yale.edu

Hailey Fuchs | hailey.fuchs@yale.edu

  • CentralJerseyMom

    And dismantle the apparatus of the Roman Empire by Wednesday.
    –People’s Front of Judea

  • td2016

    Not one of the people calling for Braasch to be “removed” has heard from her or knows the details of this incident. Calling for punishment of another from ignorance and the comfort of the pack, and particularly without hearing that person’s side of the story, practically reifies the concept of “banality of evil.” Those people should all be ashamed of themselves. The dynamics here are exactly those of a lynch mob.

    • ldffly

      Don’t doubt for one second, though, that the trustees and Peter Salovey and maybe even Richard Levin from the comfort of his retirement will back them all up.

  • katyll

    The founding fathers were right to be wary of mobs. This is a prime example of why.

  • carl

    The petition has been revised to add the following: “We also insist on a mental health evaluation” of one individual. So much for medical ethics.

    • Killer Marmot

      Very Soviet era, that.

  • Jenn323

    Would the tenor of all this change if Braasch brought a civil action against Siyonbola in Connecticut court for invasion of privacy, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, seeking, say $100 million in actual and punitive damages…and maybe tossing the YDN in as a joint and several co-defendant, just for poops and giggles?

    Just asking.

    • Luffy

      Jenn323, why are you asking this question? You have produced a strange power dynamic that implies, 1, in the current situation (i.e. not the hypothetical lawsuit) Braasch is powerless and, 2, were the tables turned, that the others would run away when their rights or person (or property) were threatened or called into question.

      The lawsuit you posit for hypothetical purposes is absolutely useless since, 1, there is no invasion of privacy (YDN has only performed an internet search and Siyonbola has nothing of the sort), and, 2, you seem to watch too much television to assume that ‘infliction of emotional distress’ is a crime. This is usually given as a reason for certain punishments, etc, not as the charged crime. It also appears that you do not understand the legalese of defamation. Interestingly, as Braasch herself supports hate speech, it’s quite strange that you would imagine she would even attempt a defamation lawsuit.

      In any case, tossing in YDN as a co-defendant is also strange (unrelated situations). However, this is precisely the point. By putting YDN and Siyonbola together you betray your intentions: the center of your universe is Braasch. Were you truly interested in understanding how a good lawyer might prop Braasch up you would look into law. Were you actually interested in the case, you would think about all parties involved. However, by noting two unrelated parties as co-defendants in a crime against the perpetrator, you have revealed yourself to sympathize with aggressor and criminalize the victim. This is truly fascinating, but also the reason for the chaos following the incident. Perhaps you should think more about how two parties should interact equally rather than rushing to defend a white woman whose English is so poor only her arrogance and self-admiration could legitimize her place in that residence.

      Just saying.

      • Jenn323

        You don’t understand Connecticut civil law regarding invasion of privacy, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. For example, do state privacy laws mean we are all free to post videos of our apartment house neighbors literally taken in their doorways?

        There’s a lot more where that came from.

        And the issue here is whether Siyonbola has committed CIVIL TORTS, not crimes, as you incorrectly suggest.

        Sarah’s published articles would not be admitted as evidence in court.

        Many commenters here have rather strong opinions about this incident. One of the functions of civil courts is to make clear to emotionally charged people that the law is not made of their overwrought opinions.

        Sarah’s bringing the legal action I posit might change the tenor of ths controversy by refocusing people on the law and applcable HGS rules, and not their own fancies.

        • Luffy

          Thank you for the response. First, however, I would like to point out no one mentioned Sarah’s so-called published articles. You are perhaps reading into the statement about her work on hate speech. You need to separate ‘evidence in court’ from ‘how a person behaves.’ The point is here that someone who supports hate speech will have a difficult time claiming people do not have the right to freedom of speech. The reason hate speech here is important, is because on all accounts no one supports ‘hate speech’ as freedom of speech unless the idea is that anything can be said (i.e. things that are considered hate, a notion that is significantly different from being politically incorrect or stating ideas that might be construed as hate). Why would there be a need to bring her writings to court? The question was more about her motivation to do so. You might be reading your own personal opinions into Sarah, which is fine, but I am more concerned with what she would do rather than what other people might do were they in her current situation.

          Second, as for your comment on privacy laws, you are absolutely right in that we are free to do so. There is no legislation (that I know of, and I would appreciate being corrected–from any state’s point of view at that, since this would be an important change, even if only in my perspective and not that of the larger debate). The problem with apartment house, dormitory, and neighbor is that these are all vague words. Let’s take the example of a university like Yale. How much of it is private property and how much not? Are the students living Yale considered renters of property owned by Yale? Now, let’s say all of these questions are answered as yes across the board: What is the building called? In Sarah’s case, she posited that the lounge space (or whatever it’s called) was not to be used by Siyonbola for sleeping. Here, a few questions must be raised: Did she mean that no resident could sleep there? Did she mean no resident has a right to be there at night? Did she mean that non-residents (again, a keyword that needs to be defined, but I have no definition of it in regards to the building the both of them lived in (and perhaps still live in)) are not allowed to be there at night, are not allowed to work there, or are not allowed to sleep there (or perhaps all three)? This is from Sarah’s side. As for the building itself, if person A lives there as a renter, does their space begin at the front entrance, the entrance to their floor (where I assume the lounge/common area for that floor might be found), and the kitchen area, the bathrooms, or, alternatively, does it simply refer to the rooms that they have a second key for (or perhaps one key opens both the front and their room doors)? If the space is public, then people would assume it is all right. But, based on the questions I raise here, even if the space were deemed private, would a person have the right to record things in their home? How to define their home depends on what is considered the home (the extent and domain of it) as well as how the resident is defined. Now, we could easily argue that both of them have rights and this would be correct; however, the issue is whether or not privacy laws would allow person A to record person B in their place of residence. Children are recorded by their parents at home all the time. Celebrities have issues like these, but they could fall under the category of public figure. In the case of person A recording person B (or taking pictures…, in this particular matter, both Sarah and Siyonbola took pictures of one another or at least the former took pictures and the latter video), would person A be violating the rights of person B or a tenant agreement with Yale for doing so?

          As for the lawsuit, I don’t think it would be a good idea. I appreciate your comment, but you seem to have ignored all my points and only discussed what you thought might be weaknesses in the discussion I proffered. Was that because you agreed with the points? Do you now agree that YDN would not be held accountable for anything?

          I was not thinking of civil law when I read your message, but let’s say you’re right and that’s an option here. By arguing for a civil tort that Siyonbola made against Sarah, you are again privileging Sarah (and, in a dangerous way, promoting white privilege). If the questions above aren’t answered, any culpability on the part of Siyonbola is for naught. However, Sarah did verbally attack, harass, and call the police on Siyonbola by stating that Siyonbola had no right to be there despite the latter objecting to Sarah’s statements. Now if we were talking about civil torts, I think Siyonbola would have the much stronger case. However, you might be thinking about the so-called backlash that Sarah has had to face (I have no idea about this, and would appreciate clarification as to what exactly she has faced). However, Siyonbola has encountered Sarah indirectly through another graduate student who suffered due to Sarah. Should this graduate student also open a case against Sarah (that’s already two cases against Sarah and only one for Sarah). You make an important point about people having the right to start a case against someone, but is it appropriate in this case? The clear answer is no, because that attitude (one that Sarah seems to have been quite adamant about) is exactly what enabled her to attack Siyonbola and when the latter maintained her rights, Sarah was then motivated again to enact her right to do what she wants and fight for her own feelings (yes, feelings), and call the police on Siyonbola–who did not at any time commit a crime (unless you want to argue again for the issue of privacy). See, here is the proof that you are supporting Sarah and are not actually interested in the situation that occurred. Were you interested, you would investigate all parts of the interaction and consider the fault of everyone involved (Sarah, Siyonbola, the campus police who arrived, and university policy). It seems, however, all you are discussing is the fault of Siyonbola and the distress of Sarah without actually thinking objectively about the situation. This is also why I noted that a good lawyer would not be as hasty in coming to conclusions or starting court cases in the manner you advocate for here.

          Now finally, about how the tenor of the conversation might change, you are wrong here. That Sarah has only committed such actions against people of black skin color is clear. I’m not black, but I’ve heard numerous stories (I’m sure that some have been exaggerated, but now with body cameras on police officers and cell phone cameras, as in this case, what people do and say is coming to light and it’s hard to deny these things happen). So, the real issue is that you are suggesting she start a lawsuit to deflect the issue of what she did to Siyonbola and to privilege her own rights. I now return to her arguments on hate speech precisely because Sarah believes in hate speech and believes people have a right to that type of speech. In law, the freedom speak is also connected to academic freedom (though these days these arguments are skewed together), and part of academic freedom is the freedom to know. Hence, freedom of speech and academic freedom entail the freedom to know and this could, potentially be extended to many other places, such as recording incidents, etc. Your unilateral support of Sarah is evident in that you are talking about ‘their’ fancies rather than thinking about the actual situation. I think you are frustrated by the overall response of support that Siyonbola has received. I can imagine that it’s difficult to see one side supported unilaterally, but you are doing this yourself. I would suggest that we talk about the rules, rather than how one individual can subvert others’ rights. If you want to talk about the subverting of rights is dangerous, then we will, of course, first have to talk about Sarah did this exact thing to Siyonbola in regards to the common room, etc. It would be quite sad if Sarah actually did know Siyonbola or at least that she lived there, but I have not once mentioned this since this would be speculation.

          In any case, I think our conversation has gone on long enough (not that two posts is long, but that from your response, it appears that you are simply advocating for Sarah–this is perfectly fine–however, I am more concerned about the legality of the larger issue–not just Sarah. Also, I would rather the issues be made clear (i.e. what are the laws, what actually happened, etc) instead of arguing who is right or who is to blame. There are far too many unanswered questions, but, with what is clear, Sarah did violate Siyonbola’s rights. You are trying to argue it the other way around WITHOUT acknowledging what Sarah did to Siyonbola. I think that is disingenuous on your part. Your use of YDN (and no apology about that in this message or at least recognition of your misuse of YDN’s role in the situation). I hope you’re able to think more about the situation. Society doesn’t function when one person’s rights are protected but no one else’s is. For many generations, however, this was reality (since no one saw the other side) and most people either weren’t interested and, for the larger majority, they simply accepted the false truths told to them. Now people have evidence, and I think it’s our responsibility as educated individuals (anyone who has graduated high school and I would argue middle school should be considered educated) to think in more detail about our role in society and the role of others, rather than simply thinking about how we can get ahead at the cost of others.

          Good luck to you. If you’re a law student or interested in law, you might find comparative law interesting. Law is a living thing and changes as our own conceptions of reality do.

          • Nancy Morris

            There is no “hate speech” exception under the First Amendment, and the whole topic would almost certainly be totally excluded in any civil trial. And MANY commenters here have referred to Sarah’s published articles.

            Sarah probably has causes of action under common law principles of “invasion of privacy”’and related principles of “false light.” In general, one can seek redress for an invasion of privacy: a tort based in common law allowing an aggrieved party to bring a lawsuit against an individual who unlawfully intrudes into his or her private affairs, or discloses his or her private information. A key concept is whether the plaintiff had a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” and HGS residents have that in the residential halls of HGS. In general, one does NOT have a right to post on Facebook videos of one’s apartment house neighbors taken in private apartment house halls.

            A plaintiff can also seek redress against someone who publicizes him or her in a egregious false light, even if the narrow facts involved are correct.

            It is not necessary for there to be statutes creating the causes of action under which Sarah might sue. They have existed as judge made law for a very long time.

            Sarah also probably has grounds to sue under principles of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

            Your analysis is not on point and, with all due respect, cannot be addressed fully in the space available. For example, Mr Reneson and Ms Siyonbola appear to have violated HGS rules when he accessed HGS residential halls and spaces unaccompanied by Ms Siyonbola. A court would likely consider that violation to be highly relevant. There are other published rule that also apply here. But your personal opinions of how society should function would not influence a court considering any claim Sarah might bring.

            If you are really interested in such things, please consult a lawyer who practices in that area of law. Siyonbola would be very well advised to consult such a lawyer. By the evidence in public reports she is far closer to a bankrupting judgment than she understands. She should at least stop provoking Sarah and tell her partisans to follow suit. Now.

          • Luffy

            Dear Nancy,

            Your response is beautiful. When engaging in an ongoing conversation (especially one in which you have not previously participated), it is quite useful to state things you concede, things you accept, and identify the actual issues you discuss. Here, you have provided a tirade more than you have an explanation of your position. It seems that you have wholeheartedly misunderstood anything I’ve noted in your one-sided support for Sarah. Unfortunately, in contrast to your personal position, which I noted in my last post to Jenn, you have ignored anything that defeats your argument and have opted to repeat verbatim what Jenn has said above in more than one place.

            I appreciate the fact that you state ‘There is no “hate speech” exception under the First Amendment, and the whole topic would almost certainly be totally excluded in any civil trial. And MANY commenters here have referred to Sarah’s published articles.’
            Now, could you explain what this has to do with my conversation with Jenn? Absolutely nothing. Jenn and I were discussing what Sarah might do. If you had properly read our conversation, we were not talking about what was possible, but what Sarah might do when discussing this particular issue. I noted Sarah’s articles (now three times if you count this message) to identify why she would not consider bringing up the charges that you now identify as redress against someone as well as invasion of privacy.

            Before you tell someone to speak to a lawyer, perhaps you should tell yourself the same thing. In addition, you might also want to consider what is being discussed rather than believing that your own point of view is the only point of view. Here, it might benefit everyone reading this to differentiate between point of view and facts or opinions derived from that point of view. It’s perfectly fine to have both (i.e. the p.o.v. as well as things derived from it) but if we never identify which is the point of the discussion in any particular place, then we’ll have no idea what is going on.

            Again, let me quote you, ‘Your analysis is not on point and, with all due respect, cannot be addressed fully in the space available. For example, Mr Reneson and Ms Siyonbola appear to have violated HGS rules when he accessed HGS residential halls and spaces unaccompanied by Ms Siyonbola. A court would likely consider that violation to be highly relevant. There are other published rule that also apply here. But your personal opinions of how society should function would not influence a court considering any claim Sarah might bring.’
            Your personal opinions on how society (or the legal system) should function (or does function) will not change how it will in this case should either be leveraged in defense of Siyonbola or Sarah. The interesting part of your testimony, since that what your comment appears to be doing is that you are constantly testifying and providing testimony on behalf of Sarah and grievances she has experienced. But this is precisely the privilege that you are afforded. You can argue that you are right, ignore facts, issues, and glaring misconstruals of the truth (i.e. that which has occurred), to further your own argument, but that was not the point of this conversation between me and Jenn.

            Now that all that is done, the ‘meat’ of your argument is: Siyonbola is in the wrong, Sarah has a right to sue, Siyonbola and her friend violated graduate dorm rules AND I expressed personal opinion and don’t understand the law. Next time, you should be more upfront about how you express your ideas or else it remains a meaningless argument. A discussion is meant to inform the participants of the different ideas the others hold not to condemn the ideas. Here, however, you are more interested in that, and, perhaps, next time, you shouldn’t write ‘Your analysis is not on point and, with all due respect, cannot be addressed fully in the space available.’ That is simply, ‘I am wrong, but let me pretend I am right.’ In the English language, providing an example as support after such as a statement is contradictory to the statement itself, but let’s assume that you are not a native speaker. In that case, you’ve only provided one example and seem to utilize that as an argument against Sarah having done anything wrong (or, perhaps, from your p.o.v. that Siyonbola and her friend, in fact, did violate rules). Now, as someone who in their first paragraph argues about rules, you might not understand what legal precedent is, and, if that assessment is true, please do read about it. Yale having responded to the situation in the way it does completely overturns any arguments you might have in the only example you provide. Again, you might argue ‘the rules state this,’ and so I will again tell you to learn what a legal precedent is. I would also implore you to understand that if Yale made the rules and (even if the people who wrote the rules are long gone, if the rules meant something else before) Yale now states what it has, then everything you are arguing for now becomes a moot point. Your argument only furthers the image that you are picking sides here rather than trying to understand what has happened. I think that is probably already obviously to yourself and everyone else, but let me repeat that: you are not discussing what has happened; you are choosing a side and arguing that the other is wholly in the wrong. The conversation in this thread was never about that; rather, it was a discussion of right and wrong from various perspectives. Unfortunately, you have chosen to dishonestly argue a position that is untenable and then use legalese and condemnatory language to pretend you have taken an objective position when, sadly, all you have done is argue against Siyonbola.

            Finally, on Siyonbola herself, I would have a hard time accepting anything you say since I can’t tell if you are anti-immigrant, anti-international student, anti-black, or simply anti-privacy invasion. In any case, I suggest you take a very different look at the situation. The problem with privacy lawas is nothing related to this and please re-read my most recent post to consider how to understand privacy in this context. At the same time, I would suggest you find laws and rulings regarding the use of cell phones, the internet, and other technology in the dissemination of information as an invasion of privacy. Facebook is not a tabloid newspaper or the paparazzi. I don’t think your personal opinions would matter in court, but they can matter on the internet, so best of luck to you. If anything, you might want to utilize the internet to further your own knowledge of power dynamics. To keyboard warriors such as yourself, anonymity is a blessing, but in the real world power dynamics is meaningful and this is always taken into consideration in court.

            Best of luck as you learn more about yourself and grow into a more aware person.

  • SirEarl

    The petition’s reference to Braasch’s article is symptomatic of the proliferation of the odious view that people (or maybe only certain people) have the right to not be offended and that if they are, the one speaking or writing the offending material must be punished.

    So it’s not enough to criticize Braasch — no, she needs to be expelled because among other things “her stated philosophy is one that violates the moral and intellectual codes of the university”. Who knew that being critical of hate crime legislation and having the temerity to express that view violated Yale’s moral and intellectual code?

    Assuming that Yale hasn’t become completely P.C., it would behoove the authors of the petition to become acquainted with one of the university’s intellectual codes: the Woodard Report.

    • Jarvis

      Incoherent. Braasch was not threatened in either event. Read the rules. If someone doesn’t belong in the Residence, you alert Resident Advisors. If you see threatening behavior or are threatened, the you call the police.

      Braasch simply violated the student rules and should be removed from residence, which is a privilege. Now that we know her behavior is harassment (her calls are only when she sees people with dark skin color), she should be interviewed to see if she has issues regarding people of color and see if she needs counseling to remain in a place where there are people she fears irrationally. It’s pretty simple.

      • Nancy Morris

        Very interesting. Where does one find the “rules” to which you refer? Are these “rules” available on line? They must be rather obscure. I don’t recall the YDN reporting even once referring to such “rules,” for example. Nor do I recall a single critic of Braasch claiming that there is a “rule” to read that Braasch violated.

        Where can I read these “rules?”

        I do see that the following language is in the contract (“license”) that graduate student residents sign:

        “You, your family and guests must comply with all state, federal and local laws, regulations and orders governing yourselves and the unit. The University is concerned about your safety and the safety of your property. In order to assist the University in maintaining such safety, you should be vigilant and immediately report to the University Police (203-432-4400) any theft, crimes or any suspicious activity or person that you think might constitute a threat to security. The University Police should be notified immediately in the event of a theft or any crime that may occur in and around the unit. You are responsible to your part to maintain the security of the building by keeping all access to the building secure (i.e. not propping open doors, being aware of trespassers, etc.)”

        So residents of HGS are REQUIRED BY THEIR CONTRACT to “immediately report to the University Police … any suspicious activity or person that [they] think might constitute a threat to security.” All reports indicate that Braasch DID THINK that both the napping Siyonbola and her unaccompanied, nonresident, young, male friend “might constitute a threat to security.” There is nothing said about WHY a resident might think that a person “might constitute a threat to security.” And a “person [who] might constitute a threat to security” is obviously not limited to persons who are then threatening a resident.

        And there is no mention of “Resident Advisors” in the contract at all.

        There is an online “Residential Housing” handbook, which has lots of rules for Graduate student residents, but I don’t see the one you claim Braasch violated.

        I do see a rule that provides in part: “Residents … must be present during the entire time of the reservation” of any common room. And I see another rule that provides in part: “Guests should not be left in student rooms and buildings when their hosts are not with them.” Given these provisions, how is it possible that Siyonbola was not violating HGS rules when she allowed her unaccompanied, nonresident, young, male friend access to the residential halls and 12th floor common space of HGS?

        Further, Siyonbola’s own video records her saying that she and Braasch did not know each other, so Braasch might have thought Braasch was a guest sleeping in the common rooom, something that would have been in violation of the rule that guests be accompanied “during the entire time of the reservation.” And yet another Residential Handbook rule provides in part: “All guests are to sleep in student rooms, not in common rooms or any other space outside of the student’s room.” A high strung resident of HGS might think that a guest violating a rule by sleeping in a common room was “suspicious activity” and might constitute a “threat to security.”

        It’s also worth noting a rule that provides in part: “There are common rooms in each building for social and academic gatherings. … Residents must respect the established community standards regarding the use of the space.” Braasch’s surprise at finding the sleeping Siyonbola late at night in the 12th floor common room suggests (although does not prove) that “the established community standards regarding the use of the space” did not include people sleeping there at that time of night. Does anyone know whether such sleeping is common?

        So how could anyone reasonably claim Braasch was motivated by race? There are lots of other possibilities, even likelihoods.

        And, in any event, there is no mention at all of “Resident Advisors” in the Residential Handbook. There are three brief mentions of “Resident Coordinators,” but none in the context you employ.

        So where is this “rule” you mention that Braasch violated?

        After reviewing the contract/license form that graduate students sign and the Residential Handbook that appears to contain the university’s rules that govern graduate residents, I am inclined to believe that Braasch probably violated no rule and, in fact, acted well within her rights and the established norms of HGS. Only the most tendentious readings of those documents could lead to another conclusion. I do think the question of whether residents commonly sleep in the 12th floor common room (especially with the lights off) is an open point.

        From what I’ve seen, Ms Siyonbola might want to tone things down quite a bit. Suggestions have been made here that Ms Braasch could bring a very nasty civil action against her for invasion of privacy, defamation, tortious infliction of emotional distress and perhaps more. Ms Siyonbola would be well advised to take that prospect seriously. The product of a cold, impartial Connecticut state court in this matter could be very ugly indeed. Very ugly.

        • Jarvis

          A woman with a blanket, and a laptop whose fallen asleep in a common area is not exhibiting “suspicious activity” nor does she offer anyone the possibility that she “might constitute a threat to to security.” Even if she remains unidentified, she is is still behaving like a typical grad student during crunch time. For us to believe Braasch was correct in her calling of the police, I’d need to see an example of an intruder posing as a student, hiding behind a laptop as some propped basis for allowing her to continue sleeping undisturbed. This feint to impose Lolade as an intruder or ‘suspicious’ wouldn’t hold up in any forum, and it clearly didn’t hold up with the YP.

          Your obsessive attempt to adjudicate from your internet portal cannot change the base facts of the case. Lolade is a grad student who fell asleep with a laptop in a common area, she’s not the first and will not be the last. In no uncertain terms, she posed neither a threat to security nor was her activity “suspicious.”

          Braasch is now publicly-identified as a serial harasser of people of color and should be identified as a racist and be asked to attend a workshop on racism or move off-campus.

          Try to remember, the police listed both of her calls as “without cause,” irrespective of whether Lolade violated rules allowing her guest unsupervised access, and whether she had failed or succeeded at behaving to “community” standards in the common room.

          I would hate for Braasch to encounter an actual problem on-campus and be disregarded because of her “girl who cried wolf” status.

          Wouldn’t that be a shame?

          • Nancy Morris

            I asked where does one find the “rules” to which you refer?

            I’m still waiting for an answer.

            Am I to take it you just made them up?

            I do not recall reading reports that the YPD “listed both of her calls as ‘without cause.’” Where does one find that report, or did you make that up, too.

            You insist that it is very important that Sarah violated “rules” for which you provide no source and that appear not to exist outside of your own imagination, but also insist that whether Siyonbola was in breach of clearly published rules regarding HGS guests and use of HGS common rooms is of no significance. That approach is indefensible. The rules matter for everyone.

          • Jarvis

            Read the YPD reports. And as for rules, you’ve listed them accurately, but you have to parse how they’re applied.

            “immediately report to the University Police … any suspicious activity or person that [they] think might constitute a threat to security.”

            A college age man holding a Yale Student ID walking up a staircase is not “suspicious activity.” Nor does he necessarily constitute “a threat to security,” whether or not he’s properly accompanied.

            Nor does a napping student age woman with a laptop in a common area constitute “suspicious activity” or a “threat to security.”

      • John Dingle Barry

        Siyonbola was also violating student rules. You agree she should also be punished right?

        • Jarvis

          That’s false dichotomy. Because x is wrong y should be too. One is not punished for allowing a guest to roam unsupervised in the residence, one is warned. But if someone uses the police repeatedly for harassment, one is punished.

      • Luffy

        I find this quite interesting. Often supporters of the weak and victims misconstrue facts unintentionally due to mounting pressure and the nature of viral stories. What’s fascinating here is how Braasch, the aggressor, is being treated as a victim and incoherently so by supporters who, apparently, can only argue for her as such due to her lack of victimization in all the scenarios described in the article. Jarvis (like the name, btw), I think you make a good point: it’s pretty simple. But it’s truly mind-boggling, how that simplicity is lost and all that is seen is some race issue, or ‘us’ versus them–so the black graduate student who was harassed for being lost or Siyonbola herself are identified as aggressors despite being the victims. At YDN, you would imagine readers had a bit more intellectual acuity to distinguish victim from perpetrator. I do like the idea that she be removed from the residence too–you are right that it is a privilege and violation of it multiple times (not to mention in a racially motivated manner) should be clear grounds for removal or severe disciplining in the least.

  • 100wattlightbulb

    Ahhhh. The tolerance of the left strikes again.

    • Jarvis

      Tolerance for the abuse of police?

      • Card Brandi

        Where was the abuse…?

        • BD

          Escalating a legal, normal situation into a police incident. Bypassing the sleeping student, dorm staff, yale staff and immediate to law enforcement for the crime if…napping while black. Not sure what law that’d fall under.

          • Card Brandi

            She was a nervous ninny…not an abuser. The cops showed up, the matter was cleared up. The escalation was on the part of the media who blew this incident out of proportion into a national news story…

    • Adelaide Dewberry

      WTH r u talking about?

  • freedomisthejungle

    policing the inner life of people has so often been successful.

  • Adelaide Dewberry

    Given most Yalies are some of the rudest, inconsiderate, clueless people on earth, this should be fun to watch..In other notes..how can one feel threatened by someone asleep? See there, only a Yalie would come up with that one!

  • Hubert_the_Infant

    It is very rare when every party involved in an incident is wrong. This is one of those incidents. Of course, with Yale these days, embarrassment is par for the course.

    • BD

      How was the law abiding student taking a nap wrong?

  • Richard Sanderson

    She used to write for a blog called Daylight Atheism, which is run by a New Racist and regressive called Adam Lee.

  • Gilles Olivier Debe

    I think in this situation it’s wise to tread lightly. All these demands seemed premeditated and well redacted, all it needed was Mrs Braasch to light the underlying elephant in the room that black Yale students were carrying. I think it’s unfortunate for both parties but for future Students as well. A metaphorical wall is being erected and its wise not to “blanket statement” every white person. I am black if you are wondering.

  • Charles Borner

    “Demand”?

    Who are these dipshits that they think they have the authority to “demand” ANYTHING?

    If they’re not happy with how Yale is run, they’re free to go back to community college!

    Yale needs to put their foot down with these little bastards.

    It’s not as if losing these idiots and their tuition will bankrupt Yale.
    They’re YALE for chrissakes! There’s ALWAYS going to be people scrambling over their fellows to get in…

    • SVV

      Yale has had no foot to put down since Easy-A Salovey became president.

  • RU_Serious

    So this is what the kids who say Russian trolls are the biggest threat to our country are up to.

  • Killer Marmot

    Mobs are ugly, mindless things. Put down the torches and pitch forks.

    • BD

      Ignore the evidence of this of not being the first time.

      It’s almost like if she was concerned she couldve asked staff, or maybe just maybe speak to the student herself.

  • Alex

    I believe people need to look into this further. These two incidents were not separate, random encounters with people of color. They appear to be directly related. This began in February when Jean-Louis Reneson visited this dorm to attend a meeting with Lolade in the 12th floor common room. As a non-resident, he couldn’t access the building without a key. But Sarah happened to be entering the building at the same time, and she invited Jean-Louis onto the elevator with her, apparently assuming he was a resident. They both exited on the 12th floor and went their separate ways without incident. Jean-Louis looked for the common room, but he was unable to find it and texted Lolade for help. After a little while, Sarah happened to run into him again. Jean-Louis decided to ask her for help, explaining that he was lost. At this point, Jean-Louis tells us that Sarah became suspicious of him and started questioning him. He says that she became angry and asked him to leave, saying he did not belong there. He did not leave, and Sarah eventually left him. Lolade eventually came and found Jean-Louis and took him to the common room. They were soon visited by police officers who had apparently been called by Sarah. After brief questioning, they decided nothing was amiss and left.

    Lolade and Jean-Louis were upset by this. They were convinced that Sarah had called the police because Jean-Louis was black. In March, they wrote a letter to Yale administration to report Sarah’s racial profiling. In this report, they identified her by name.

    All of this information was provided by Jean-Louis. We still have no account from Sarah. But immediately it seems as if we have some big questions. The very first thing that stands out to me is that Lolade and Jean-Louis jumped to a conclusion that I personally could not. Sarah invited Jean-Louis onto an elevator with her and yet only became uncomfortable with his presence when that was finished? And she only became upset upon learning that he wasn’t a resident? To me, this sounds like she had an issue with discovering that she had unwittingly helped a non-resident enter the building. In his report, and later on CNN, Jean-Louis explained that he felt Sarah’s phrase, “You don’t belong here,” meant that he, as a black male, did not belong at Yale. To me, the much more obvious conclusion is that she meant he didn’t belong in the building because he was not a resident.

    An additional question I see concerns whether Sarah became aware of Lolade’s involvement in this incident. We know from the video that Lolade recognized Sarah. She also used Sarah’s name in the report to Yale administrators. And we know that Jean-Louis and Sarah met up directly after this incident. If Lolade could identify Sarah on sight, it’s a good bet that Sarah knew who she was as well. Sarah almost certainly knew that Lolade had neglected her responsibility to escort Jean-Louis. Sarah may even have learned that she had been reported for racial profiling. Jean-Louis says that he was contacted by multiple deans at the university, and he was pleased with how everything was handled. Does this mean Sarah was contacted? Regardless, one thing seems obvious. We have another potential motive for Sarah to attempt to create trouble for Lolade that has absolutely nothing to do with racism. She might have been angry enough – and I dare say petty enough – to look for an excuse to catch her in the act of rule-breaking.

    Let’s keep in mind what we’re talking about here. If we assume Sarah is simply a racist, then we have a remarkable coincidence. In 43 years of life, and with four degrees already behind her implying a long history in diverse college environments, the two people who would finally discover her prejudice would not only be friends but also share involvement in these incidents.

    If we look at Sarah’s past, we may get some additional things to ponder. First, I haven’t met a great many racists who readily promote Jesse Jackson. I haven’t seen many racists who champion politicians like Lena Taylor. And I haven’t seen many who join organizations that stand up for women of color who have been raped and otherwise brutalized by men. We might even consider whether her involvement with such an organization could give us a better answer for why she’d be upset learning she’d allowed an unescorted male into her dorm.

    • Nancy Morris

      Your analysis is on point. A detail: We also know from the video that Lolade and Sarah had not met, so it is unlikely Sarah knew Lolade was a resident, but Lolade knew Sarah had called about Reneson.

      There are other relevant details that the YDN has failed to report. For example, the following language is in the contract (“license”) that graduate student residents sign:

      “You, your family and guests must comply with all state, federal and local laws, regulations and orders governing yourselves and the unit. The University is concerned about your safety and the safety of your property. In order to assist the University in maintaining such safety, you should be vigilant and immediately report to the University Police (203-432-4400) any theft, crimes or any suspicious activity or person that you think might constitute a threat to security. The University Police should be notified immediately in the event of a theft or any crime that may occur in and around the unit. You are responsible to your part to maintain the security of the building by keeping all access to the building secure (i.e. not propping open doors, being aware of trespassers, etc.)”

      A “person [who] might constitute a threat to security” is obviously not limited to persons who are then threatening a resident, and appears to include any unaccompanied guest.

      There is also an online “Residential Housing” handbook, which has rules for Graduate student residents. One rule that provides in part: “Residents … must be present during the entire time of the reservation” of any common room, and another rule that provides in part: “Guests should not be left in student rooms and buildings when their hosts are not with them.” How is it possible that Lolade was not violating HGS rules when she allowed Reneson access to the 12th floor common space of HGS?

      Further, Braasch might have thought Braasch was a guest, something that would have been in violation of the rule that guests be accompanied “during the entire time of the reservation” of any common room. Yet another Residential Handbook rule provides in part: “All guests are to sleep in student rooms, not in common rooms or any other space outside of the student’s room.”

      Yet another rule provides in part: “There are common rooms in each building for social and academic gatherings. … Residents must respect the established community standards regarding the use of the space.” Braasch’s surprise at finding the sleeping Lolade late at night in the 12th floor common room suggests (although does not prove) that “the established community standards regarding the use of the space” do not include people sleeping there at that time of night. Does anyone know whether such sleeping is common?

      It seems more than peculiar that this controversy is evolving without reference to HGS rules.

      • Alex

        Thanks very much for the additional info! I had found the information about hosts and their guests, but I had not seen the information from the handbook concerning sleeping in the common rooms.

        I do still think Sarah probably knew Lolade lived in the building. Lolade recorded two videos. In the first, when she was speaking to Sarah, Sarah said, “I have every right to call the police; you can not sleep in that room.” This language by itself doesn’t suggest she was claiming to have mistaken Lolade for a non-resident. It’s still ambiguous, of course. But in the second video, when the police explain why they’ve come, they say the caller reported “there was someone who appeared they weren’t supposed to be where they were supposed to be.” That language is curious, and to me it sounds carefully chosen. It makes no mention of an intruder or a non-resident. It only suggests, in a non-specific way, that someone is breaking a rule.

        There are good reasons to think that Sarah would know Lolade was a resident. They apparently live on the same floor, and this happened at the end of the semester. Lolade knew Sarah’s name when she coauthored the report in March. And I strongly suspect Sarah would have monitored the results of her first call to the police in February and discovered Jean-Louis together with Lolade. Sarah and Lolade also likely share acquaintances, and if either side discussed the first incident with friends, it’s not difficult to imagine dots being connected. Of course, there is also the report to Yale administration and the possibility that Sarah was contacted.

        Sarah has offered no public response. I’ve considered whether she might be preparing a legal response to all of this, since racial profiling accusations can certainly threaten her career. In the end though, I think she may not feel she has a strong position for turning public opinion. I don’t believe racism was at play here. But I do guess she was angry with Lolade. You pointed out the handbook rule against sleeping in the common areas. Perhaps that came into play.

        In any case, I think the real lesson here is that we all need to be careful about jumping to judgments that can drastically alter people’s lives. I have no legal background. But I’ve often wondered how our traditional notions about justice can be maintained in this new era of judgment and sentencing via public opinion. Regardless of whether Sarah was motivated by racism or not, her life has been changed because of a Facebook Live video. Guilty or innocent, we can’t take that back.

        • Nancy Morris

          Do they live on the same floor? I had the impression (from comments) that Sarah lives on the 12th floor, where the only other suite has been converted into the “common room.”

          I agree the videos are not definitive and, in fact, suggest that there are aspects of this story we don’t know. In particular, there is the question of whether the 12th floor common room is acceptably used for “napping” with lights off late at night. Does anyone know?

          I don’t know Sarah or if she is considering a civil lawsuit. From what I’ve seen, she has solid grounds, but I may not know the whole story. A Connecticut court hearing such an action would mostly be interested in public opinion to measure damages to Sarah, which seem quite extensive. A civil judgment for defamation, etc would have reputation cleansing effect. But Siyonbola is not wealthy, and putting her in bankruptcy would serve little purpose.

      • bananaslugsrule

        ‘Yet another Residential Handbook rule provides in part: “All guests are to sleep in student rooms, not in common rooms or any other space outside of the student’s room.”’

        Read it again. It says that all GUESTS are to sleep in student rooms. Lolade was a RESIDENT, not a guest, so it does not appear that she violated any rules by falling asleep in the common room.

        “Does anyone know whether such sleeping is common?”
        Yes, it’s EXTREMELY common for people to fall asleep in common areas, especially in May and December, when people are studying for finals and finishing papers/projects.

        It seems that you’re very desperately trying to convince yourself that Lolade is a villain.

    • Nancy Morris

      By the way, when I ask if anyone knows whether sleeping or napping late at night in the 12th Floor HGS common room is consistent with “the established community standards regarding the use of the space,” I mean exactly that. The rule refers to THAT SPACE. In determining the “established community standards regarding the use of the space” the standards for the use of OTHER common rooms, university library spaces, dining halls and so on are clearly NOT VERY RELEVANT.

      Also, I meant to write “Further, Braasch might have thought Lolade was a guest…,” not “Further, Braasch might have thought Braasch was a guest.”

  • Dally Saybrook

    I can’t help but wonder what Siyonbola’s partisans think about Harvard’s star Economics Professor Roland G. Fryer, Jr. now being investigated on charges of sexual harassment by Harvard and the state of Massachusetts. He has been barred by Harvard officials from setting foot in the research lab he heads. Two Title IX complaints. Fryer happens to be African American.

    Racism? Sexism? Title VI versus Title IX? Title IX versus itself?

  • freedomisthejungle

    wait a minute, people are still paying $30,000 + a year to read books and get lectured by 35 year old lesbian adjuncts and 80 year old irrelevant pensioners who once rubbed elbows with bertrand russell? what kind of egoists are these privileged lemmings? go out into the real world, people. you have ZERO idea what is waiting for you.

    • BD

      Oh hey, look nothing to do with the article!

      • freedomisthejungle

        but literally nothing of human import has anything to do with what’s published in yale’s yellow rag.

    • Z Malek

      Yale grads get hired more than most colleges though

      • freedomisthejungle

        “hired” for what? perpetuating the status quo and serving the power establishment?

      • freedomisthejungle

        no, they just get hired more to do rote status quo bureaucrat gigs.

  • John Sand

    The way that the city of New Haven deals with racism is none of Yale out-of-staters’ business.

  • bill bill

    See something, say something.

  • Go Locket

    I do think people should be held accountable for making these phone calls to the police with no merit. I disagree with the idea that the school should hire, enroll more people of color. I think making a rule like that is just as racist as saying you cant have any people of color. They should not even take race into account at all on making hires or enrolling students. I dont care what color your skin is, you can make it in on your own merit. No handouts needed here. And the idea that white people need to be punished for slavary and killing natives is rediculous. No man, or woman should pay for the sins of people long dead. Fight for equallity. treat people as equal
    Believe were all equal, and we will be.