Manchester student Zac Adan speaks out about being ‘racially profiled’ by uni security

‘It showed me the university’s reputation was way more important than the welfare and wellbeing of students’

In a new BBC documentary Is Uni Racist?, University of Manchester student, Zac Adan has spoken about the “racial profiling” incident he faced at UoM last November.

Zac was on his way back to his room in Fallowfield campus when he was stopped, pinned against a wall, and “racially profiled” by uni security.

Zac says the incident made him feel “the university’s reputation was way more important than the welfare and wellbeing of students”.

The documentary’s presenter, reporter Linda Adey, says she “first started looking into racism at Britain’s unis” after she saw the incident at Manchester last year.

Zac explains how security “assumed I was a drug dealer” despite having shown them his ID card.

He says three security guards surrounded him and “pinned” him against a wall. After, the university said it had suspended the guards involved and had launched an investigation.

Screenshots from the video of the incident

Following the incident, Zac says he “didn’t feel safe at all”. Having reported what had happened and sending evidence to the university, he says he received minimal contact for days after.

The video was eventually posted on social media and went viral, leading to Manchester’s VC Nancy Rothwell appearing on BBC Newsnight to discuss the incident. In the interview, she claimed she had written to Zac to apologise for the incident.

Yet it soon came to light she had in fact never written to Zac, and the next day was forced to apologise for the lie, saying: “I am devastated that I made the wrong remark on national television”.

Manchester Uni VC Nancy Rothwell

Throughout it, Zac says he “didn’t know anything” about the actions the uni said were being taken. He says only found out about the investigation into the incident via a tweet from the uni’s Twitter account.

He says: “I was just looking for the university just to help me, just to resolve the issue and give me confidence that they were dealing with the issue and reassure me that something like this wouldn’t ever happen again.”

The documentary explores institutional racism at unis across the country and highlights “serious issues with the way universities deal with complaints”.

Zac with the documentary’s presenter, via BBC

UEA Vice Chancellor, David Richardson who leads a Universities UK group on racial harassment, admits universities are “institutionally racist”.

A Manchester University spokesperson said in the documentary: “We condemn all forms of racism and discrimination. We can’t comment on the allegations because of ongoing processes.

“Since the incident Zac has met with senior leaders at the university. We have put together a robust action plan which addresses these issues.”

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