Oumou Kanoute alleged that she was racially profiled while eating in a lounge area at Smith College back in 2018. An investigation made by a law firm found “no evidence of bias”, the New York Times reported.

In 2018, Smith College student Oumou Kanoute came forward with allegations against a janitor, claiming that she was racially profiled while eating lunch at the college dorm.

A law company has since investigated the incident and revealed their findings after the student’s claims.

Photo by Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Who is Oumou Kanoute?

According to her Linkedin profile, Oumou enrolled at Smith College in 2017 and is due to finish her BA degree in Psychology in 2021.

She has worked as a Research Intern Assistant at Columbia University since May 2020 and serves as a volunteer research assistant at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinaiher, her account states.

In 2018, Oumou alleged that she was racially targeted by a janitor for “eating while black” at a dorm lounge at Smith College.

In a since-deleted Facebook post (via The Sun), she claimed:

“Today someone felt the need to call the police on me while I was sitting down reading, and eating in a common room at the Massachusetts school.

“This person didn’t try to bring their concerns forward to me, but instead decided to call the police. I did nothing wrong, I wasn’t making any noise or bothering anyone.”

What did the investigation find?

According to an investigation, a law company found “no evidence of discrimination”. The findings were originally revealed in 2018 but weren’t widely reported by other news publications at the time.

During the incident, a janitor in his 60s with poor vision noticed someone eating at the college dorm and notified security. The janitor claimed that he couldn’t make out who the person was and told the security people that there was someone “sitting there laying down in the living room.”

“I didn’t approach her or anything but she seems out of place,” the janitor reportedly said.

The investigation report said: “Based on this information, the investigation determined that the Caller’s had a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for believing it was ‘out of place’ for a person to be in the Tyler living room.”

What did Smith College say?

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney came forward with a statement on February 22nd, 2021.

In a letter on the college’s website, Kathleen wrote:

“I write to emphasize that Smith College remains unyielding in its commitment to advancing racial justice, a commitment that includes and benefits every member of our community. Given the centrality of this work to Smith College’s mission, I want to take this opportunity to ensure that each of you has accurate information.

“As a college, we remain committed to continuous learning in support of the humanity, worth, and dignity of every member of our community.”

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