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Mar 10 2017
by Melissa Cordell

UNC-W Lecturer Believes He Was Profiled By University Employee For Wearing A Jacket Outside

By Melissa Cordell - Mar 10 2017

University of North Carolina at Wilmington lecturer, Rajan Juniku, believes he was racially profiled while sitting outside of his classroom on February 28th, wearing a zipped-up jacket. 

A campus employee contacted the university's police because the employee was concerned that Juniku was wearing something inappropriate for the weather, deeming him suspicious. The university made it clear that there was no mention of Juniku's race until the caller was asked about it. 

UNC-W sent out an email shortly after the incident explaining that "there was a concern that he might be concealing weapons:" 

Evan Housel via UNC-W
Evan Housel via UNC-W

Evan Housel, a junior at UNC-W majoring in Criminology said, "I think it's ridiculous for a UNC-W professor to be racially profiled so obviously and by a faculty member at that. The weather was going in and out all day Tuesday; I was even wearing a hoodie for some of the day, and I was made aware by his wife's public Facebook post that he was sick so he was just trying to warm up. To say that a man wearing a jacket could be a terrorist based on a limited amount of factors is ignorant and outright ridiculous, especially in public institution such as UNC-W." 

Juniku's wife, Alicia Juniku, took to Facebook to say, "My husband's gorgeous olive skin, dark hair and chestnut eyes do not make him a terrorist and neither does him sitting in the sun."

In the email sent out by the university to students and faculty, it said, "We have taken this accusation of 'profiling' very seriously and will review how we can ensure that those approached by UPD will not feel that they are being singled out for their ethnicity, but we also must recognize an obligation to respond to an employee's concern about safety."

Lead Image Credit: JB Kilpatrick via Flickr Creative Commons

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Melissa Cordell - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Melissa Cordell is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Political Science and Peace, War & Defense, with a Women's Studies minor. She loves working on campaigns, activism and writing. Follow her on Instagram @meldelissacor and Twitter @MM_Cordell!

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