The woman who called 911 to report that a Yale University student was taking a nap in a graduate student dorm has a history of making racially charged statements, and had also previously called police on another African American graduate student in the same building.
Sarah Braasch, herself a graduate student at Yale, called police on Lolade Siyonbola on Monday morning, when she found Siyonbola in their building’s common room napping. Four Yale University police officers responded, and Siyonbola spent an extremely uncomfortable 15 minutes filming their interactions as they struggled to verify that she is, indeed, a Yale graduate student.
In a separate video, Braasch tells Siyonbola that she “has every right to call the police” because she “cannot sleep in that room.” According to Siyonbola, Braasch had also previously called the police on a friend of hers “because he was in the stairwell and he was black.”
Siyonbola’s friend, Jean-Louis Reneson, said that in March, Braasch had physically blocked him from entering the common room and accused him of being an intruder.
“I went down to the base of the twelfth floor and eleventh floor and turned my back,” Reneson told the Yale Daily News. “She continued to verbally assault me from the twelfth floor claiming that ‘I didn’t belong here.'” Again, four Yale University police officers showed up to the building to investigate a “suspicious character.”
According to Braasch’s Yale biography, she is currently pursuing her fifth degree, an MA in philosophy, to “address the sub-human legal status of the world’s women at the source.” However, a trawl through some of her previous writings reveals some troubling examples of racist dogma. In a 2010 post for the blog Humanist, Braasch brags about how she won a middle school debate on the pros and cons of slavery — while on the side advocating it.
“I led our team to victory,” she wrote. “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?” Braasch goes on to mention that she is a “vehement opponent of hate crime legislation.”
As of Thursday, Humanist has removed Braasch’s writings from their blog because of “racially offensive” arguments. “The article in question, which argues for the ban, the author equates the small number of slaves who wanted to remain with their owners after emancipation… with women who choose to be ‘slaves’ in… patriarchal religious traditions,” Humanist’s statement reads. “While the author’s final point is one some humanists might champion, the analogy to American slavery is definitely not.”
In a blog post from 2011, Braasch described an incident in which a male Wisconsin Supreme Court justice called the female chief justice a “bitch,” saying it would have been taken more seriously if he’d called her a racial slur. “Just imagine for one second how fast [David Prosser] would have been forced from office is he had called the black Chief Justice the N word,” Braasch wrote.
Yale administrators called the incident between Braasch and Siyonbola “deeply troubling” and pledged to continue to address incidents of racial bias.
“We still have so much more to do,” Yale Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crew said in an email. “All of us in senior leadership recognize that incidents such as this one are being framed within a difficult national context.”