A Smith College staff member on Tuesday called campus police to report a student of color. Her only fault – reading and eating lunch in a common area.
The student, Oumou Kanoute who had a complete meltdown after the incident is working over the summer for the college as a teaching assistant and residential advisor.
“I am blown away at the fact that I cannot even sit down and eat lunch peacefully,” Kanoute wrote in a Facebook post which has been shared by thousands of users.
“I did nothing wrong, I wasn’t making any noise or bothering anyone. All I did was be black. It’s outrageous that some people question my being at Smith College, and my existence overall as a woman of color,” reads the post.
President Kathleen McCartney while offering the apology to the victim student has announced a third-party investigation to conduct a thorough review of this incident.
“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,” McCartney said.
The college has further announced anti-bias training for every Smith staff member beginning fall of 2018.
“Beginning this fall, every Smith staff member will be required to participate in mandatory anti-bias training,” reads the letter written by President to Smith community.
“The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (OIDE), in partnership with Human Resources and the School for Social Work, will hold a series of workshops for faculty and staff focused specifically on topics of identity, inclusion, bias-response and bias-prevention.”
Meanwhile, the victim student has called the response of college incomplete and sought new school policy concerning racism, gender, and policing that centers the voices of students and faculty of color.