Manchester University security guards suspended after claims of racial profiling of student

16 November 2020, 14:16

By Joe Cook

A number of security guards at Manchester university have been suspended amid claims they racially profiled a black first year student after a video was shared on social media.

Students claim three security guards singled out a black student, later identified as Zac Adan,19, who was walking outside his accommodation. Footage posted online appears to show two of the guards pushing him up against a wall and demanding to see his ID.

The university issued a statement saying it was “aware of an alleged serious incident on our campus” and “began investigating it immediately”.

A University of Manchester spokesperson later said in a statement: “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.”

Izzy, 19, who filmed the incident at the Fallowfield accommodation on Friday evening and was with the student involved, told LBC “it all happened really fast”.

“We were walking just behind a building and they spotted the student, deciding that he didn’t look like he belonged there,” she alleged. Izzy added that “he was the only one who actually lived in” the block.

“There were three security guards, two of them pinned him up against a wall as you can see in the video.

“He said the security were saying he didn’t look like he belonged,” she alleged.

Read more: Manchester Uni starts halls fences inquiry amid 'pressure cooker' on UK campuses

Izzy continued: “Everyone else was white and they decided to go for him”.

“They pinned him up against the wall, didn’t give him a chance to get out his ID, which he had on him. Eventually he managed to get it out and obviously they saw and backed off.”

In the video the security guards are seen holding the student against a wall and demanding "give us your card".

Later one of the security guards tells the student: "When you showed your card you covered your face up, that's all."

Read more: Manchester Uni students pull down lockdown fencing put up around halls

The incident comes amid high tensions on the campus, with Manchester University launching an inquiry into their decision to put up fencing around the Fallowfield accommodation blocks.

The fencing, which cost £11,000, was ripped down by students the same day, with many angry at administrators for treating them like “prisoners”.

Chloe Kigira, 19, a mixed-race student who also lives in the Fallowfield accommodation but did not see the incident, told LBC she felt the “security had been pretty shocking”.

“There were security about that night but why they reacted like that to him I am absolutely baffled.

“I don’t feel very safe on campus a lot of the time,” she continued, adding that her first term at university had been “pretty horrendous to be honest.

“I pay a lot of money to live here. I feel desperately upset at the situation and I think the university’s communication has been poor.”

However, Chloe said she did not think the security involved in the altercation should necessarily be fired.

“It is one thing making an example of someone, but I want people to be educated,” she told LBC.

“I don’t think it is even solving much even him just losing his job. He has probably got a family to support.”

“It is the education because often in cases of racial profiling, in my experience, is they don’t even know it is happening. It is an unconscious bias.”