NORTHHAMPTON (CBS) – The Smith College employee who called police on Oumou Kanoute, a black student eating lunch in a common room, has been placed on leave.
The school announced Friday that the unnamed employee is on leave “pending the outcome of the external investigation.” It also released a redacted transcript of the call made Tuesday, and announced the hiring of a law firm to conduct an investigation.
A tearful Oumou Kanoute spoke with WBZ-TV Thursday about the incident that she says has made her feel unsafe on campus.
“All I did was be black,” the sophomore said. “No student of color should have to explain why they belong at prestigious white institutions.”
In the campus police transcript released by Smith, published below, the caller tells a dispatcher they saw a person “laying down in the living room area” and “he seems to be out of place.”
“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 caller states in the transcript.
After speaking with Kanoute, the responding officer tells dispatch “that was a student relaxing in the living room.”
Kanoute has called for the identity of the caller to be released, something the school says it won’t do because of privacy laws.
The transcript released by Smith College:
July 31, 2018, 1:53 p.m.
Dispatch: Campus Police, recorded line.
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. I didn’t approach her or anything but um he seems to be out of place … umm … 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.
Dispatch: Can I have your last name please?
Reporting Caller: [REDACTED]
Dispatch: I’ll send someone over and check it out.
Reporting Caller: Alright. I’ll wait over here.
Responding Officer: All clear. That was a student relaxing in the living room. They had lunch here. I guess and they decided to stay for a while.