University of Manchester vice-chancellor apologises over ‘racial profiling’ incident

BBC Newsnight

The vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester has issued a public apology over an alleged “racial profiling” incident which occurred earlier this week.

Dame Nancy Rothwell apologised to 19-year-old student Zac Adan during a BBC Newsnight appearance.

It comes after video footage emerged online showing Mr Adan held up against a wall at halls of residence in Fallowfield by security guards who demanded to see his ID during an incident in which Mr Adan said he was accused of “looking like a drug dealer”.

First speaking on the incident, Mr Adan – a first year French and Linguistics student at the university who moved to the UK from Italy a few years ago – said he had been left “traumatised” after being stopped upon returning to his halls of residence from visiting a local shop and asked to present his identification.

“The next thing I know I was being pinned up against the wall”, he said.

Mr Adan continued: “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?”

The University of Manchester has since confirmed the suspension of the security officers involved in the incident.

Now, vice-chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell confirmed she had written to Mr Adan to apologise.

During her BBC Newsnight appearance, Dame Nancy said: “I was very, very concerned by it, I’ve apologised to the student for the distress that he felt.

“I immediately suspended the staff and there is now an investigation ongoing.”

Mr Adan said earlier this week that he wanted to talk to university leaders about the incident, and although Dame Nancy declared that she would “consider” meeting with Mr Adan in person, she stated that she could not “commit” to meeting him at this moment in time as “that could influence the investigation” as part of the ongoing enquiry.

She also added that she “won’t meet with the security staff either”.

Dame Nancy confirmed that Mr Adan “has met with several of our staff” following the incident and stated that he has also been offered counselling by the University.

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