Smith College Investigating After Police Called About Black Student Eating Lunch

Smith College in Northampton is investigating after campus police were called to investigate a black student who was quietly eating her lunch in a common room.

Amy Hunter, the school's interim director of inclusion, diversity and equity, said in a statement that a Smith employee called police Tuesday to report that someone "seemed to be out of place" in a campus building.

Hunter said there was nothing suspicious at all about the undergraduate student, who is working on campus this summer as a teaching assistant.

The woman who identified herself as the student later posted on Facebook that it was outrageous she could not sit down and eat her lunch in peace.

She added: "All I did was be black."

In a later Facebook post, the student said she wanted people to help her identify the person who called campus police on her.

Hunter said it is Smith policy to redact names in any campus police records that are released.

In a letter to the school community on Thursday, Smith President Kathleen McCartney said that the college will have a third-party investigator review the incident, and that beginning in the fall, every Smith staffer will be required to participate in anti-bias training. The college will also hold workshops on identity, inclusion and bias.

"This painful incident," McCartney wrote, "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."

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This article was originally published on August 02, 2018.


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