World News

College employee told police black student looked "out of place"

College employee told police black student looked

A statement from Smith College said the employee, who has not been identified, was not now working at the college, and included a copy of the transcript of their call. The employee, who hasn't been identified, has been placed on leave pending the result, the school said.

Later, the police officer calls back the dispatcher to let them know things are "all clear", and no report would be filed.

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

Kanoute said she was eating lunch and reading a book in a common room on campus that requires keycard access when she noticed a white man and a white woman pacing outside the room's entrance.

Smith College said in a statement that that campus police "found nothing suspicious" about Kanoute's presence and that it meant to conduct an investigation of the incident with Human Resources and Campus Police.

"I have to check my closet at night now before I go to bed; I'm terrified in my own room", said Oumou Kanoute, a rising sophomore at the MA college.

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She recorded a video with her phone, sharing it on her social media resulting in outrage from supporters shocked by the incident.

"I want to know what was said during that call that dehumanized me and criminalized me", she said.

"It just still upsets me to just talk about it because I don't even feel safe on my own campus and I'm away from home". Smith College is apologizing saying "it does not tolerate race or gender-based discrimination in any form". Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney says in a letter Thursday the college is hiring a "third-party investigator" to review the incident and that every Smith staff member will undergo mandatory anti-bias training. "This painful incident reminds us of the ongoing legacy of racism and bias in which people of color are targeted while simply going about the business of their daily lives". "I was terrified", Kanoute said. "It is a powerful reminder that building an inclusive, diverse and sustainable community is urgent and ongoing work". University officials and campus police will also try to improve protocols for responding to calls for assistance, she said.

Update: We have received multiple requests to release the name of the individual who called Campus Police.


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