Ben Hayward November 16th
2020

The University of Manchester has launched an investigation and suspended a number of security guards following accusations that they racially profiled a first year student.

Footage posted to social media on Sunday (November 15th) night shows security officers detaining a student against a wall while demanding his identification.

19-year-old Zac Adan, a French and Linguistics student at the university, said he had been left ‘traumatised’ by the incident and has not been able to sleep since it took place.

Mr Adan said he was returning to his halls of residence in Fallowfield after visiting a shop when he was asked to show his identification - as is everyone on the campus.

He said: “I had my ID card in my hand and they tried to snatch it from me. The next thing I know I was being pinned up against the wall.”

"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?"

In the footage, Mr Adan can be heard saying: “I’m a University of Manchester student. They’re trying to snatch my card out of me. You see, I take this racial profiling.”

A friend of Mr Adan’s who saw the incident told the Guardian: “The security guards decided that he didn’t look like he belonged in the area. [They] cited the drug dealing happening on campus and pinned him up against the wall without giving him a chance to get his ID out.”

Before leaving, one security guard can be heard to say: “When you showed your card, you covered your face up – that’s all.”

However, another witness said he had been ‘pinned against a wall 10 metres from his flat’ because he looked like a ‘drug dealer’ while other members of staff told him not to ‘play the race card’.

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Mr Adan, who is the first in his family to go to university, said he believed this was an example of racial profiling and said it could be damaging to prospective students.

"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."

The University of Manchester 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.”

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