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University investigating after Black professor asked to prove her identity, residence

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Posted at 1:29 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 15:29:48-04

The president of a California university is apologizing to one of his professors and her family after they were allegedly racially profiled on campus.

In a thread on social media, Danielle Morgan outlined how officers escorted her brother to her house on campus at Santa Clara University over the weekend. She is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Morgan recalls that her brother came to the door and said the officers needed her to come out and “vouch for me.” Morgan told CNN she was asked to produce ID to prove who she was and where she lived.

“I asked what the issue was and he (the officer) said my brother was ‘in the bushes’ and it was ‘suspicious’ and they thought he may have been homeless. I asked why I needed to show ID at my own home. He said ‘Well, it's not your home. The University owns it,’” Morgan said.

Her brother came to see her and her husband in Santa Clara after being apart because of the pandemic for several months. Her brother spent Saturday morning on campus enjoying the weather while doing work on his computer.

Morgan says her brother was on a work call when officers approached him and asked him to leave. They then escorted him to Morgan’s home, with four squad cars.

“I told them that I was one of 7 Black faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences and that our student body population is 2% Black. I told them that the anti-Blackness they espouse and practice is part of the reason why,” Morgan wrote.

At one point, Morgan says her neighbor came out to walk their dog. She asked him to vouch that she lived there, he did, then waited outside and witnessed the encounter.

Eventually, Morgan’s husband, who is white and also works on campus, asked the officer what they should do “to not be harassed and followed.” According to Morgan, the officer responded: “Stay in open spaces.”

“That answer is unclear and insufficient, and I am concerned now to go back to campus AND to live in this house,” Morgan wrote.

The incident has caused physical health issues and "horrifying psychological trauma" for both Morgan and her brother, according to CNN. It is being investigated by the school’s Director of Equal Opportunity.

Santa Clara University President Kevin O’Brien, S.J. wrote in a letter shared on Twitter “No work is more important than our efforts to realize a more inclusive, welcoming and safe campus where all are respected and valued.”

He also said planned training for campus officers about racial profiling will take place in the next few weeks.

Morgan has posted on Twitter that O’Brien and other school faculty have reached out to her since the incident.