Markeia Milam, a sophomore political science major, described being ‘racially profiled’ by her roommates in a Twitter thread on Wednesday, Feb 14. Since then, the thread has increased in views and likes. Milam came to The All State on Friday with her full story.
Milam described the Wednesday incident.
“Well I got a snapchat from an RA who works for Hand,” Milam said. “I had been talking to her since I knew she was an RA and I was was telling her that I was uncomfortable, that I felt they were targeting me.”
She was alerted by the RA of an impending search.
“She snapchatted me randomly at 9:00 that day and she was like, ‘You need to move…they’re trying to set you up. And just to give you a heads up, they’re going to do a pop up tonight,” Milam said.
“I had company. At about 12:13 I got a knock on the door and it was them.” Milam said. The people searching Milam’s room said they got a call. “I already knew they were coming, so they didn’t ‘just get a call’.”
“Prior to that they had been searching my room for weed, but I feel like they felt like ‘Well, we can’t catch her for weed, so let’s try and catch her on something else.’ So they tried to catch me with a visitation violation, which they did.”
Housing policy states that visitors have to be out by a certain time.
Milam said the Wednesday’s search was just the latest of many. The first search of her room was on Jan. 25.
“They said they had smelled marijuana. And I didn’t fight them on it, I let them in, because I know that I didn’t have anything,” Milam said. “I explained to them that could be anybody’s, there’s four girls in here. But because I’m black, I guess they assumed I was the smoker.”
Milam said the search focused on her room.
“They said the smell was louder in my room, and I let them look around because I knew they wouldn’t find anything, because I don’t smoke,” Milam said.
According to Milam the search was thorough.
“So they were searching like we were criminals. They were opening DVD cases, opening bottles of water, searching in the water, searching in the toilet bowl,” Milam said.
According to Milam the RA’s did not find any marijuana.
“They didn’t find anything, but they did end up finding an alcohol bottle in one of my roommate’s room,” Milam said. “They explained that if they smelled it again they’d come back.”
Another search occured on the 29th. Four or five people were there.
“Maybe two days after that I was laying in my bed with a bonnet on, no clothes on, and they said that they got a noise complaint. I was the only one in my apartment. I was asleep. It was like 12:30.”
Milam suspects that the RAs were trying to catch her in violation of a rule.
“That’s what really made me mad. It was after midnight, and I was trying to sleep, and I had class in the morning,” Milam said.
After this incident, Milam contacted her parents about the situation. Milam’s room was searched again. She recalls seeing the RAs outside her apartment building before the search, but they gave no indication that they were about to search her room again.
“Walked to the Terrace got a pizza, came back, and they were in my room ransacking again.” Milam said three RAs were in her room, and two others were spread out in the other rooms.
Dr. Obi was searching Milam’s room this time for marijuana. None was found.
Milam recalls Dr. Obi saying that she could smell marijuana in her room.
The next search on Feb. 14 was tweeted by Milam.
Milam describes her living environment as “very hostile.”
“You can just tell that they don’t want me there.” Milam said. Her roomates are all seniors. A former roommate of theirs visits often.
Milam said there have been several incidents of negativity between the roommates. One night, at around 9:30, Milam was blow drying her hair.
“She told me to stop,” Milam said. “I didn’t want to argue with her, so I turned my blow dryer off and just let my hair air dry.”
Milam said she was told to empty their communal trash can.
“We all put trash in there,” Milam said. “She texted me one day and asked me to take it out. She was like ‘Can you take your trash out?’ Now I’d been watching all of us dump stuff in there.”
Milam said she took the trash out.
When Milam was taking a shower at around 8 p.m. one night, she had music playing from her phone in the bathroom with her. She said her roommate texted her asking her to keep it down.
Milam feels like her roommates may have been trying to create a “paper trail” of texts to make her look bad.
Milam has texted her roommates trying to figure out who is calling in all the searches. She said they denied knowing anything about it.
Milam said that the Housing department is not handling this well.
“They want to nip it in the bud,” Milam said. “I shouldn’t be moved out of my room. I paid $3400, $3500 just like they did. I feel like I should be comfortable wherever I’m staying, and they should assure that.”
Milam feels that something deeper is going on. She suspects an RA may be working with her roommates.
Milam said this is important in the current racially tense environment.
“I’ve seen a lot of this stuff go viral with black roommates and white roommates.”
Because she is studying to be a civil lawyer, Milam said making her story well known is her goal.
“There could be a freshman girl in this predicament next year who doesn’t know how to deal with it. Now she can see ‘well that Kei girl got everyone involved.'”
Joe Mills, assistant vice president of student affairs and director of housing gave the housing office’s official response.
“University officials have looked into this situation and determined this is an ongoing roommate dispute that we are reviewing and addressing according to our normal protocol.”
The housing department’s policy on searches is as follows:
“Any residence unit may be searched with the consent of any
occupant of the unit, or without such consent upon a finding of
probable cause, and the issuance of an authorization to search by
the appropriate University official or by any court with
jurisdiction. Consent by an occupant other than the one under
suspicion shall not extend to any personal belongings of, or areas
restricted for exclusive use by, the occupant under suspicion
unless the consenting occupant is a member of the family of the
occupant under suspicion.”
The All State is following this story and will update accordingly.