WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A UNCW chemistry professor's wife claims her husband was racially profiled on campus Tuesday.
Dr. Rajan Juniku's wife took to Facebook after the incident to post her husband's account of what happened. Alicia Juniku wrote that while waiting on a lab to begin, her husband went outside to sit in the sun.
"He's been sick the last two days and was trying to warm up," Juniku wrote. "He had on his jacket, jeans, and a sweater."
Soon after, she said someone called UNCW campus police, who approached her husband and asked him to remove his hands from his pockets "very slowly, with no sudden movements," then "ordered him to remove his jacket and proceeded to search it thoroughly."
"Someone thought he looked less like a university lecturer and more like a terrorist (olive skinned man with too many clothes on....must be hiding an arsenal)," Juniku noted. "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. His students were around, his colleagues.....a great injustice has been done to my husband today, and we are fuming."
Dr. Juniku corroborated his wife's post in an interview Wednesday, and said while he was shocked at what happened, he doesn't think it was the school's fault. But he does believe the responding officer overstepped his bounds.
"I don't blame the school for this incident," Juniku explained. "I understand at the present time a lot of bad things are happening, but they should be more careful with how they deal with this. I am a faculty, and if he knew that he never would have done what he did. I would never hurt anyone."
The professor said he asked the officer if he stopped him because he looked Middle Eastern and the officer said no, he was responding to a call of a suspicious person and was following orders.
Juniku said, embarrassed, he went back to his office and sat quietly.
"I felt so sad after this event and I've never felt like this before," Juniku said. "When I went to catch the shuttle, I felt I was being stared at by people on campus. I felt someone may show up at the bus station to interrogate me again because they think I look suspicious."
A university official said the school is in the process of reviewing the situation, but did release this statement Wednesday afternoon: