Police called on black student eating lunch at Smith College

Smith College Employee Called Police On Black Student Eating Lunch

"I am blown away at the fact that I can not even sit down and eat lunch peacefully", she wrote.

'I did nothing wrong, I wasn't making any noise or bothering anyone'.

Her experience is the latest in a string of incidents where Black people's everyday activities like napping, barbecuing, selling water, golfing, or renting an Airbnb have been reported to the police.

"Reporting Caller: I was just walking through here in the front foyer of [REDACTED] and we have a person sitting there laying down in the living room area over here".

Oumou Kanoute, who was working as a teaching assistant at Smith College in MA, was on her lunch break on Tuesday when a campus police officer approached her.

A black college student is speaking out after a campus employee called the police on her to report seeing someone who appeared to be "out of place".

Kanoute said in Facebook post that she was taking a work break on Tuesday when she was approached by a police officer asking her why she was on the campus. "I'm working the summer program, so..."

Kanoute is on campus this summer working as a residential adviser and teaching assistant.

Hunter also said she has reached out to Kanoute to "offer support and discuss next steps" following the incident.

Kanoute responded, "It's OK". "It's just like, the kind of stuff like this happens way too often, where people just feel threatened".

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The cop quickly resolved nothing was out of the ordinary and left the building.

The woman who has identified herself as the student posted on Facebook that it was outrageous she couldn't eat her lunch in peace.

She wrote that she was "very nervous, and had a complete meltdown after this incident".

Kanoute is demanding that Smith identify the caller "so that they can confront and acknowledge the harm done to me as a student".

"No student of color should have to explain why they belong at prestigious white institutions", Kanoute wrote.

Smith will also work with the campus police to improve protocols for assessing and responding to calls for assistance, McCartney said.

"This painful incident reminds us of the ongoing legacy of racism and bias in which people of color are targeted while going about the business of their daily lives", McCartney wrote.

Kanoute appreciates the apology but wants more.

"This incident has raised concerns in our community about bias and equity", Title IX coordinator Amy Hunter said.

Smith College president Kathleen McCartney said in a letter Thursday that the college was hiring a "third-party investigator" to review the incident and that every Smith staff member would undergo mandatory anti-bias training. "Such behavior can contribute to a climate of fear, hostility and exclusion that has no place in our community".



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