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SECURITY guards at a locked-down University of Manchester campus were suspended today following allegations that they racially profiled a black student and accused him of “looking like a drug dealer.”
The university has launched an investigation into the “serious incident.”
Video footage, which students have posted on social media, shows first-year student Zac Adan held up against a wall by security guards, who demanded to see identification.
The 19-year-old, who is the son of Somalian refugees, said he had been “traumatised” by the incident and has not been able to sleep since it took place.
Mr Adan, a French and linguistics student, said that after visiting a local shop he was asked by security guards at the university’s Fallowfield campus to show his identification.
“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,” he said.
“There was no conversation. They just pinned me up against the wall and said that I looked like a drug dealer. Why? Because I am black and wearing a hoodie?”
Meanwhile, students are occupying a Fallowfield campus building in protest against their treatment since the start of term in September.
On arrival, they were confined to their accommodation.
The university deployed security guards to ensure they stayed in their accommodation, and security fences were erected to prevent contact between different halls of residence and to seal off the campus from the local community.
The students tore the fences down, and on Thursday night last week occupied Owens Park Tower, a disused residential block on the campus.
Student Hannah Philips, who is involved in the occupation, told the Morning Star: “Security has been deployed all over the campus harassing students.”
A demonstration planned by students for last Thursday night was cancelled after the University of Manchester called in the police.
“They keep putting their foot in it as far as image is concerned,” said Ms Philips.
Students and the University and College Union have claimed that the students were “lured” to Manchester in September so that the university could claim their £9,250-a-year tuition fees and accommodation costs of up to £140 a week.
Responding to the alleged incident and video the university 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.”
Mr Adan said he moved to Britain from Italy a few years ago and has “suffered racism” all his life.
But he said: “Britain has been so accepting and welcoming – it lets the country down when things like this happen.”
He is calling for the university to apologise.
“I want to be able to enter my flat in peace, not be stopped and abused by the people paid to protect us,” he said.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “This summer the University of Manchester condemned all racist violence and oppression in response to the Black Lives Matter movement — it now needs to acknowledge this incident is an example of the very things it condemned just six months ago.
“The university must immediately issue a full apology to Mr Adan and stop trying to police its student population. We stand in complete solidarity with all students who have been mistreated this term, they deserve much better from university management and the government.”
The university said: “The safety and wellbeing of our students is always of the utmost importance to us and we take these kind of allegations extremely seriously.”
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