‘They said I look like a drug dealer’: Manc student ‘racially profiled’ by uni security
The university has suspended security guards and is investigating
The University of Manchester has suspended security guards and launched an investigation after a student was “racially profiled” on Friday night.
The incident occurred on Fallowfield’s Owen Park campus whilst the student was walking home from the shops, and it was filmed by other student onlookers.
Ruby, a friend of the student, posted a video of the incident on her Twitter, and said: “On Friday night, my friend was racially profiled on the Fallowfield campus by @OfficialUoM security whilst on his way home.
“He was pinned against a wall 10 metres from his flat because he looked like a ‘drug dealer’. Other members of staff told him not to ‘play the race card’.”
In the video, the student can be heard saying: “I’m a University of Manchester student. They’re trying to snatch my card off me. This is racial profiling”.
The University of Manchester’s official Twitter page replied to Ruby’s video, four hours later, saying: “Hi Ruby. On Saturday 14 November we were made aware of an alleged serious incident on our campus and began investigating it immediately. We have been in regular contact with the affected party and keeping them fully informed of our progress.
“The safety and wellbeing of our students is always of the utmost importance to us and we take these kind of allegations extremely seriously.”
The safety and wellbeing of our students is always of the utmost importance to us and we take these kind of allegations extremely seriously. 2/2
— The University of Manchester (@OfficialUoM) November 15, 2020
Izzy, another student onlooker, posted her recording of the event on Twitter, with hashtag reference to not only the incident but also other current events taking place, such as the occupation of Owen’s Park Tower, whose occupants had their food delivery prevented by UoM security.
In a series of tweets the student said: “No other students were asked for ID, despite there being many about, and they pinned him up against a wall without giving him a chance to get his ID. There’s another video 10 minutes prior to this of security joking with a group of white students.”
In the footage, the security officers can be seen without masks on and not socially distancing from the students. A student can be heard repeated telling society: “You’re not wearing a mask. Can you please get two metres away from everybody?”
Izzy told The Manchester Tab: “The security guards were very aggressive with him and after the assault, when Zac went to find other security staff to report the event, he was told by them that it wasn’t a serious incident and that rather than telling them, he should call the police.
“He is a black man who has been assaulted, he is not going to call the police is he?”
We shouldn’t need to go to the police for an issue that occurred on campus, why are security there if not for things like this?? Let alone the implications of a black man calling the police obviously he will not feel safe doing that…
— izzy (@izzy_b32) November 16, 2020
Zac Adan has since told BBC News: “There was no conversation. They just pinned me up against the wall and said I looked like a drug dealer. Why? Because I am black and wearing a hoodie?”
He said: “It’s disgusting, I haven’t been able to sleep. I am traumatised by the situation
“My parents came from Somalia as refugees and have given up everything for me to be at this institution. I am the first person in my family to go to university, so for me it’s an achievement – but when they hear about things like this happening, my parents are begging me to go back home.”
Students present at the incident also spoke to The Guardian, on how the security guards “pinned him up against the wall without giving him a chance to get his ID out”.
Multiple Manchester departments have sent emails to their students and offered support regarding the incident. An email signed by heads of department in the school of Social Sciences says: “We unequivocally condemn the racial profiling of a young black male student outside of halls of residence. Our students should feel safe, supported and feel they they belong to our university community.”
A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “We are deeply concerned by these images. We have spoken to the student concerned, launched a full investigation and have suspended the security officers (without prejudice) pending the results of this investigation.”