The University of Manchester has launched an investigation after a student alleged that he was racially profiled by security guards.
Footage posted on social media on Sunday night showed security officers detain a student against a wall while demanding his identification.
The young man 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 the student who witnessed the incident told the Guardian that the “security guards decided that he didn’t look like he belonged in the area” and that three of them cited “the drug dealing happening on campus”.
They “pinned him up against the wall without giving him a chance to get his ID out,” she said.
The incident is understood to have happened at the University of Manchester’s Fallowfield halls of residence, which was the focus of protests earlier this month when metal barriers were installed amid concerns about people breaching the Covid-19 lockdown.
The footage shows the student and his friends protesting against his treatment by the security guards, who walk off after reviewing his university identification. One tells the student: “When you showed your card, you covered your face up – that’s all.”
Another of the student’s friends, however, said he had been “pinned against a wall 10 metres from his flat because he looked like a ‘drug dealer’. Other members of staff told him not to ‘play the race card’.
“This university needs to do better. First we’re locked in like animals, and now we’re being stereotyped and physically assaulted outside our own flats, that we are paying to live in, by the people that are paid to keep us safe.”
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The University of Manchester said: “On Saturday 14 November we were made aware of an alleged serious incident on our campus and began investigating it immediately. We have been in regular contact with the affected party and keeping them fully informed of our progress.
“The safety and wellbeing of our students is always of the utmost importance to us and we take these kind of allegations extremely seriously.”
The university has been the subject of fierce criticism over its handling of the coronavirus restrictions, which resulted in a protest involving hundreds of students earlier this month. The university has apologised and launched a review into its decision to install metal fencing around the Fallowfield accommodation, at a cost of £11,000.
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