UoM Vice Chancellor apologises for lying after racial incident

Khanh Ngo looks at the latest on the racial incident at the University of Manchester

Khanh Ngo
30th November 2020
Uni of Manchester Sackville Street Building (from Wikimedia Commons)
Nancy Rothwell wrongly told BBC Newsnight last Thursday she had written to first year student Zac Adan, 19, to apologise after a racial incident at the University.

Footage of the incident emerged on social media after Adan asked onlookers to film him being pinned to a wall by security guards who accused him of "looking like a drug dealer".

When directly asked if she had apologised to the student, she firmly said yes

During the Newsnight interview, the Vice Chancellor said she was “very, very concerned” by the incident and had “apologised to the student for the distress that he felt”. When directly asked if she had apologised to the student, she firmly said yes. 

However, that was not the case. When the interview came out, Rothwell was called out for claiming she had written to Adan while in fact he had not received any correspondences from her directly.

The next day, the University’s media team released a video apology, in which the Vice Chancellor stated: “This morning, I realised that one of the things I said in that interview, with good intention, was in fact incorrect."

“I said that I had written to the student that was involved in a serious incident on 13 November. I found out today that, in fact, that was not included in correspondence to him. I am devastated that I made the wrong remark on national television.”

Also noteworthy in the interview was that on multiple occasions, Rothwell refused to speak to Adan personally for fear of “influencing the investigation” even though he had said that it would “very much improve his mental health and state of mind”.

The interview and the apology were not well-received. Speaking to the Courier, UoMrentstrike called the video a “shambles” and correspondence by email only “a response lacking empathy and cooperation, and [leaving] students feeling completely abandoned under layers of bureaucracy”.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons

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