Skip to main content
Publish date:

U of M grad embroiled in racial profiling row at Yale University

She called police because a black woman – another student – was sleeping in a common area.
Author:

A University of Minnesota alum turned Yale grad student is embroiled in a racial profiling row after calling the police because a black woman was sleeping in a university common area.

Sarah Braasch, who was raised in Minnesota and graduated with two engineering degrees from the U, is now involved in the wider national conversation surrounding police being called on black people for innocuous reasons.

Braasch claimed to police she didn't know the sleeping individual, who as it turns out was a fellow grad student, 34-year-old Lolade Siyonbola, who fell asleep while working on a paper in Yale's Hall of Graduate Studies.

Siyonbola began recording her encounter with Braasch and the subsequent 17-minute conversation with police. Each video has been viewed more than a million times as of Saturday morning.

The 43-year-old U of M grad hasn't commented publicly since the incident, but did say on Siyonbola's video: "I have every right to call the police. You cannot sleep in that room." 

Today's Top Stories

– Waite Park massage parlor owner charged with prostitution.

– Family needs help finding missing peacock.

– NEW: Follow Bring Me The News on Flipboard.

After police spoke with an unhappy Siyonbola as they verified her identity, they spoke with Braasch and told her she had every right to be there, according to a statement.

"They also explained that this was not a police matter and were reporting the incident to the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences," it added.

Braasch got her two Minnesota degrees in aerospace and mechanical engineering. CityPages has more details on her background here, noting that she has written essays on her upbringing in White Bear Lake.

The New York Daily News has also delved into her previously expressed views on racism.

Here's the video:

Yale president calls on students to fight racism

The incident on Thursday prompted a statement from Yale President Peter Salovey, who according to the Yale Daily News wrote: "Universities are not utopias, and people of color experience racism on our campus as they do elsewhere in our country. This fact angers and disappoints me.

"Each of us has the power to fight against prejudice and fear. I hope you will join me in doing so."

The Yale Daily News reports that Braasch previously had another run in with a black grad student, allegedly blocking him from entering a common area, thinking he was an intruder.

This is the latest highly-publicized incident involving the profiling of black people for seemingly harmless acts.

Others have included the arrest of two black men for not buying anything at a Starbucks, and three people were detained while leaving their California Airbnb because a neighbor though they were burglars.

Next Up

Dalvin Cook

Report: Dalvin Cook has dislocated shoulder, will undergo MRI

The Vikings running back was carted off the field in Sunday's loss to the 49ers.

Kirk Cousins

Watch: Kirk Cousins lines up under guard on critical 4th down play

Kirk Cousins went "Full Kirk" at the worst possible time.

Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook injured, Vikings drop crucial game against 49ers

The Vikings couldn't stop the Niners' rushing attack in a 34-26 loss.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man airlifted to a hospital after police shooting in Forest Lake

Police allege that the man presented a threat to officers.

Minnesota Wild

Wild's two third-period goals take down the Lightning

Ryan Hartman's go-ahead goal defeated the two-time defending champions.

Byron Buxton

Reports: Twins reach extension with Byron Buxton

The long-term deal locks in one of the Twins' franchise players.

Justin Jefferson

Vikings-49ers: 5 things you can count on

Sunday's matchup is a pivotal game in the NFC playoff picture.

Gopher Football

Watch: Gophers troll Badgers with 'Jump Around' after Saturday's win

First they took Paul Bunyan's Axe. Then they took their tradition.

Brandon Richart, missing person

Search underway for missing man in Anoka area

Brandon Richart was last seen Nov. 17.

U.S. Bank Stadium

5 teams win first state championships at Prep Bowl

A pair of records fell as the Prep Bowl lived up to the hype.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 10.04.55 AM

Man who led 'Save Lake Calhoun' effort at center of racial profiling allegation

He threatened to call 911 on a group of black tenants in an office building gym.

4643306265_ee3fd83fa4_b

Racially-motivated assault reported at Metro State University

A university employee was attacked on the St. Paul campus.

U of M to consider changing name of 4 buildings

The buildings are all named after former administrators whose policies have been put under scrutiny.

Teens abuse women on U of M campus, one flashes them

Police have issued an alert for the area.

University of Minnesota

COVID-19: U of M under pressure for meagre room and board refunds

There have been calls to protect students from payments during the pandemic.

Chaska High School

Chaska HS embroiled in new racism storm after student's blackface video

It's the latest in a series of racist incidents involving the school in recent years.