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‘Racial profiling’ probe launched into King’s security staff

L-R: Areeb Ullah, Sebastiaan Debrouwere, Desmond Tutu

Racial profiling allegations are being investigated by King’s College London after a student union officer claimed that King’s security staff singled him out at a university event last Tuesday.

 

Areeb Ullah, vice president of academic affairs at King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU), told Roar! he was pulled out of a private reception with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on race grounds.

During the event, King’s security staff “grabbed” the student officer by the shoulder and asked him to go outside for questioning, according to Mr Ullah and the KCLSU president.

In an email sent to head of security, Nick O’Donnell, Mr Ullah described the incident: “I was surrounded by approximately five members of [King’s] senior plain clothed security staff employed directly by the college … I was [then] asked if I was invited to the event”.

“I have never felt more humiliated and dehumanised by the treatment I had to endure by [King’s] senior security staff,” he added.

Mr O’Donnell, deputy director of estates and facilities for KCL, has apologised on behalf of the College, citing “higher than normal protest activity” as a possible explanation.

KCLSU president Sebastiaan Debrouwere, who was also at the event, was not approached by security.

Mr Ullah said it was “ironic” that he believed he was targeted due to his race, given Archbishop Tutu’s anti-apartheid activism.

Mr Ullah has asked for an explanation of security staffs’ behaviour from the Mr O’Donnell, and has said he will be submitting a formal complaint to the College if he is dissatisfied.

Professor Richard Burridge, the Dean of King’s who organised the event, was unavailable for comment but is “looking into the matter”.

A spokesperson for the College has said they understand the incident is being investigated and that they will respond “as soon as we understand what happened”.

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