Eating While Black: Smith College Employee Reported Student Who 'Seemed Out Of place'

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College Hall at Smith College in Northampton. (Creative Commons)
College Hall at Smith College in Northampton. (Creative Commons)

A Smith College employee called campus police to report a person who "seemed to be out of place" in a dorm common room on Tuesday.

That person was Oumou Kanoute, a Smith student and teaching assistant in a STEM program Smith runs for high school students. She was eating lunch and reading on a break from her work. Kanoute took cellphone videos of the incident and posted them to her Facebook page.

"I don’t see anybody in the building at this point and uh I don’t know what he’s doing in there just laying on the couch," the reporting caller said in a transcript provided by the school.

Smith College has launched an investigation with the help of the Sanghavi Law Office. The employee who called has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.


Gelonnie Smith, graduate of Smith College and past co-chair of the school's Black Student Alliance.

Nikki Greene, professor of Art at Wellesley College and a contributor to WBUR's Cognoscenti. She tweets @nikkigphd.

This segment aired on August 3, 2018.


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