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Dr. Rajan Juniku says he was racially profiled.
Dr. Rajan Juniku is a professor at UNCW (Photo: Kirsten Gutierrez /WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A UNCW chemistry lecturer says that he was racially profiled today when a campus police officer searched him in front of students and staff.

Chemistry teacher Rajan Juniku says that he was just enjoying some sunshine on a bench in front of his office when an officer approached him and asked him to remove his jacket.

He says that the officer asked him to place the jacket on the bench without first asking who he was or why he was on campus.

“I had a jacket. It was zipped up because I was cold. I was shaking. And he said I should remove my hands very slowly. Because apparently, somebody notified them that I look suspicious, and I have concealed weapons,” Juniku said.

Juniku, who hails from Kosovo, says that he asked the officer if the search was related to his appearance.

“’Are you doing this because I look Middle Eastern?’ I said. ‘Why are you doing this? Because I don’t look suspicious. I was just sitting there drinking water. Doing nothing suspiciously,’” he said.

Juniku’s wife, Alicia, was outraged when she heard what had happened, and made a post about it on Facebook.

So far, the post has received more than 500 shares.

“The fact that it’s happening on campus. At UNCW. To a respected member of the community. To a lecturer in the college. It’s just outrageous to me. And the fact that he was subjected to this is entirely unacceptable,” she said.

UNCW acknowledged the incident in a statement.

“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 campus safety,” the statement reads.

The Junikus say that the incident is significant because it is just a small example of what non-white people across the country face.
“I don’t want this to happen again. They should make sure they know how to deal with this kind of situation,” Juniku said. “If I am faculty, they should be able to find out who is that person sitting there. Without jumping the gun, so to speak.”

To view Alicia Juniku’s original Facebook post, click here.

UNCW’s full statement can be viewed below:

“The University’s police department was contacted by an employee at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The caller expressed concern that a man was seated on a bench behind Cameron Hall wearing a zipped-up jacket that did not seem congruent with the warm weather conditions. There was no mention of race by the caller until he was asked by the dispatcher to provide routine descriptive information so that the man could be efficiently located by police personnel. A UPD officer was dispatched to the location and upon arrival, there was an interaction of less than 2 minutes between the officer and the man, who self-identified as a faculty member. 

During this time, the officer introduced himself and explained that UPD had received a call which obligated their response, regarding the fact that he was wearing a jacket that seemed inappropriate for the warm weather, and there was concern he might be concealing weapons. The officer explained that the easiest way to dispel the concern was for the faculty member to take the jacket off, so the officer could see that there was no weapon present. The faculty member removed the jacket and handed it to the officer, who quickly confirmed there was no weapon and placed the jacket on the bench.

The officer emphatically indicated, when asked by the faculty member if he was questioning him based on his ethnicity, that this was not the case, and again stated that he was obligated to respond to the call of concern. The interaction did not include any physical contact or “frisking,” nor a request for the man to identify himself or his purpose for being on campus. During this interaction, the officer indicated repeatedly that he did not believe the faculty member had done anything wrong, and apologized for the fact that he was obligated to follow up on the call received by UPD.

 The university immediately initiated a review of this exchange yesterday afternoon, and UPD reached out to the faculty member (via telephone and email) for his account of the exchange. This morning UNCW’s provost/chief academic officer reached out to the faculty member to express her concern and to encourage him to respond to UPD’s outreach to him. The dashcam video has been very closely reviewed to confirm our understanding of the facts of the exchange. We are eager to quickly proceed and finalize our review and will be able to do so upon receiving a response from the faculty member involved. 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 campus safety.” 

Office of University Relations

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Comment on this Story

  • Dirk Diggler

    She’s “outraged”? toe torry ter wittle fweel bads wus hurwt..
    You should feel safe, and be happy there are State officers there to protect you and your students and who do respond when someone calls and reports a suspicious person. But nope. You’re obviously another person who feels like they are entitled to treatment everyone else is not entitled to.
    I bet you’re one of those campus staff who immediately run up the food chain if you were to get a speeding ticket on campus too. (How dare them give ME a speeding ticket. Don’t you know who I am? I.. Me am a DOCTOR! I am Mister Wonderful! I deserve more than you citizens of USA, and It’s ok for this to happen to African American people but I’m not from this country and someone called the police and said I look suspicious, so How Dare You Question Mister Wonderful)
    Why can’t you be happy we don’t have people of authority in our country committing war crimes, genocide, and atrocities.
    You get questioned one time, and throw this big of a public temper tantrum? You contact the news? That really, I mean REALLY says allot about the person you are.
    One of my closest friends who grew up in the projects here,were talking about how absurd it is when a person thinks they are entitled because of who they are, pitches a news-contacting, media gabbing temper tantrum in public.
    Since he was 14, there isn’t a year that’s gone by IN HIS LIFE, that he hasn’t been stopped for somebody saying he looked suspicious (yes he has a clean record) or just being in the wrong place/wrong time.
    Not ONCE has he complained.. You want to call your episode RACIAL profiling? What a joke. Tell that to someone of color who grew up in the South.
    How does anyone even know you didn’t set this up to contact the news for media attention because you already assumed you would be profiled if someone called and looked suspicious.
    This happens to you and almost instantly you and your wife who wasn’t with you according to reports at the time are talking to the media? How does anyone know you didn’t do it for publicity or for attention? That you didn’t set this up, knowing you’d be given a soapbox because of who you are?
    If it’s that horrible in America… Go back to Kosovo. There’s enough people already that were born and raised or transplanted here, who think they are entitled to something the rest of s aren’t, and who walk around like they are better than anyone else.
    All you’ve accomplished is showing some people, you fit the description of THAT person. If one of my children came and told me they had a person that’s acted like you’ve acted as a professor? I’d feel sorry for them. I would feel sorry my child had to learn from someone who through “because of who they are”, they deserved different, special treatment, obviously better than them, better than most of us.
    Because of who you are in the community…. Wow.. Just, wow… You publically went there.. If anything, the school should be investigating you for throwing a temper tantrum to the press, investigating if you did it for self-publicity… Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t..
    Why do you deserve something we don’t deserve? More so, why do you deserve something, rather, why are you entitled to something African American people as well as some white people born and raised here, are not entitled to? That’s a bigger crime and ethics atrocity than a million of your poor little inconvenient bench breaks.
    What is further mind-blowing, is this year alone, specifically regarding Kosovo, this is not the first time I have heard of someone from Kosovo getting so offended by something that “happened to them in America”, specifically by someone talking about God in their own house to a relative when that person was there, overheard the conversation and freaked out yelling her God wasn’t real?
    Is it a culture gap? Because in that incident, the other person, the one from Kosovo? They showed their donkey just as hard.
    A little over a month ago, I (me, being born and raised HERE) I was parked on private property. A LEO driving by, looked over, saw me, decided I looked suspicious on hos own.
    He asked for consent to look in my vehicle and for my I.D., and asked some pretty absurd questions by that WPD officer. It was inconvenient and frustrating, but it didn’t bother me. Nobody called me in as suspicious. He was simply trying to keep the community safe.
    he was polite, professional and honest. Maybe he was gung ho, maybe a little bit of power tripping or glory dogging.. But it wasn’t because of the color of my skin…
    I was parked, with permission, on private property, well away from public access, within every legal right, simply taking a photo, of a vehicle on private property. The LEO deemed that action suspicious enough to drive onto private property and question me.
    You know what I did as absurd as it was? I was polite, I complied, I didn’t complain, I went home, went to bed, didn’t lose sleep then and haven’t lost any since. I forgot about it! (Until this public temper tantrum)
    As absurd as it was, as offended as I could have gotten I didn’t. I was glad he was doing his job.
    Maybe you live in a bubble doctor doodad…
    For the rest of us living paycheck to paycheck, there is crime in abundance all around us. There’s gangs, drugs, etc.
    The only way to prevent crime is when someone calls in someone or something suspicious to 911, is for the officer to go, and check it out
    Big flippin deal. At last we have law enforcement who checks things out. At least we have law enforcement who didn’t commit the genocide and atrocities those in positions of power committed in Kosovo.
    This is just yet one more story of somebody thinking they are entitled to something because of who they are or what they do. What a joke.
    Why does your stature make you different than anyone else?
    Why does it entitle you to perks an American born and raised citizen isn’t entitled to?
    It doesn’t, just as a FYI…
    I feel sorry for you… That you can loose it this big over something that small, is pretty sad and that you think its ok to cause that much drama and friction in your own workplace to call out someone to the news instead of going to their boss and asking their boss to set up a meeting and talk it out man to man..
    Because of knee jerk reactions like this, someone could loose their job and livelihood instead of this being used as a positive training exercise, and there will no doubt be some that take your side and some that take his side, and it causes drama and friction, in this case publically because by going to the news you dragged a couple hundred thousand people into your drama, the drama you publically created.
    I’m glad you went public though, so I can make sure to let my two kids there, what class NOT to take.
    They’re there to be educated. Not to be dragged into your reality show.
    Wow…. Because of who you are in the community…. Unreal ……

  • guest45

    not true Vog, nice try though, I have great respect for our vet’s, bet you I have bought more anonymous meals for vets than you ever thought about, what I don’t like is a vet that constantly try’s to endanger the public and take away individual rights and that true patriots, (vet’s) have served for. I could care less where your checks come from, after all, I help to put the money in the system that pays you, enjoy!

  • Old Surfer

    I have no problem with “double dipping” if you earned it, which it appears you have. I have a big problem with people, even “TV anchors” refer to SS as an “entitlement”. I PAID into that for years, I earned it. An entitlement is getting something after never “putting anything into it”.

  • Heimie Schmelter

    Yep..and you would be the very last person I’d ever have watching my back in combat! You can’t make a decision, you don’t have a stance and you ask too many questions. You’re late, you aren’t paying attention and you’re fully indecisive. YOU would kill ME in combat!
    Just go back to being a wannabe…

  • cheese101

    Unless the call was about a suspicious person sitting in a car. Then it would be step out of the car, I’m going to do a quick pat down for weapons to ensure both our safety. Again, you don’t know the job of being a police officer.

  • cheese101

    Just because it was reported he could be a professor doesn’t mean he was. The officer did his job properly and there was a need to ask him to remove the jacket. Until facts on scene are gathered the officer has procedures to follow to ensure his and the individual he is speaking with are safe.
    You just don’t know the job of police.

  • cheese101

    Unless the call was about a suspicious person sitting in a car. Then it would be step out of the car, I’m going to do a quick pat down for weapons to ensure both our safety. Again, you really don’t know the job of being a police officer.

    • Vog46

      would need probable cause to stop him
      Not a cop – never said I was a cop and don’t pretend to be a cop
      Vog
      Unaffiliated and darned proud of it

      • cheese101

        Nope, don’t need probable cause due to the call made to dispatch. You are still wrong. It is apparent you were never an officer but you try to act like you know it all.

      • cheese101

        Any yet you are still wrong. An officer can walk up and talk to anybody. And if there was a call placed for a suspicious individual the officer has a duty to investigate. Good thing you weren’t a cop because you don’t know what you are talking about.

  • Chance Nottaken

    State employees could carry a bomb in their jacket. Just because he is a professor doesn’t mean an id would’ve cleared things up. All 911 calls should be investigated regardless of your profession.

    • Vog46

      An ID wouldn’t clear it up?
      Thanks for rendering arguments FOR the proposed voter ID law in NC moot.

      The guy didn’t run. Without the dash cam video we can’t tell if his hands were exposed. If they were the cop can relax a bit. simply asking for he ID would have solved everything.

      The fear was misplaced and would have been mitigated by the ID.

      Vog

      • Chance Nottaken

        Way to change the conversation! I geuss if you can make a logical point then you just change the topic.

    • Heimie Schmelter

      Vog so easily forgets about the Fort Hood shootings where 13 US Army soldiers were murdered and 32 others were seriously injured by a US Army officer as he repeatedly screamed “Allahu Akbar!”.
      Such a shame people forget these things so easily!

      • Vog46

        Yep gotta love those U.S.CITIZENS that commit mass murders
        And did this professor start yelling Allahu Akbar?
        I think not
        Keep a fear mongering

        Vog

  • Chance Nottaken

    He waived his fourth ammendment right when he gave consent. If in fact he did give consent. I’m assuming he did since there is nothing in the report that he didnt. There is nothing wrong with an officer responding to a 911 call to ask consent to search. He should’ve excercised his right to a warrant maybe.

  • Old Surfer

    It just sounds like his description would not believe one to “recognize him” as a student or a professor. And I say again, if he was that sick, he had no business in a classroom, which is neither here nor there.

  • guest45

    I fight every day to uphold our right’s Vogg, it is you that seems to be always trying to write the rules as you go, putting AMERICAN’S FIRST! what a novel idea, thank you President Trump!

  • surfcitytom

    80 degrees and a jacket fully zipped. By his own admission he was shaking. What was the responding officer supposed to do? Offer him some drugs? Rather evident he and his wife are looking down the road at some type of lawsuit. Shameful that they were not concerned with the legitimate fears his appearance presented. At the very least, with the shaking, he could have been on drugs or alcohol.

  • Old Surfer

    In a lighter vein, I blame his wife. How could she let her husband leave home needing a shave and wearing big, baggy clothes. NO WAY would my wife let me leave home looking like that. And further, he had THE FLU? In a closed environment of a classroom full of students? Hope they have had their flu shots.

  • Kayla

    People often justify racial and religious profiling by labeling it as a necessary part of protecting the American people. But who is really being protected when keeping Americans safe and profiling people of color are conflated? A see something, say something principle of caution allows natural room for error, for accusations to be made where no threat exists. One might argue that with inclusion in a protected group comes vulnerability to the protections that maintain the group. That, as an American, you accept that the systems in place to keep the country safe might be used against you if you are perceived as a threat, with or without cause. If this principle were equally applied, it may be an acceptable condition of belonging to such a group and enjoying its protections — but when people of color are consistently perceived and treated as threats on both individual and legislative levels, we are not witnessing the workings of an allowable margin of error, but a margin of racism. When being brown or black or Muslim comes with an additional set of conditions one must subject to in order to enjoy the benefits of being American, or a limit on the extent to which one can access those benefits, then the rights of some are being compromised in favor of the rights of others on the basis of racial and religious discrimination, the very prejudices rejected by the ideals we purport to protect.

    Is the oppression of a minority for the benefit of the majority an act we condemn when reflecting on history but are willing to accept and repeat today? Is any margin of racism in our government, our law enforcement, or in the way we view and treat others, allowable? Profiling a man sitting on a bench, barring people based on categories of identity that we perceive to coincide with race and appearance, shooting a man in a Kansas bar for daring to live and work in America — these acts are not disconnected. They exist on one continuum that ranges from fear to hate. When we legitimize racism in expressions of fear, we legitimize expressions of racist hatred. Even setting aside the moral implications of weighing the value of some lives over others, or of deciding who gets to feel safe in this country at the expense of whom, is an America that leans on the crutch of racism to protect itself, that views any position on a continuum of prejudice as an acceptable one to inhabit, still the America we’re trying to protect?

    • Heimie Schmelter

      Do you think you are a MLK wannabee? “Racism”, “Minority”, “Profiling”, “Hatred” all stated in your rambling post that means nothing? Here in the United States of America, we have allowed factions of people to live here that hate this country, hate its freedoms and hate it’s people. To the radical Muslim, anyone that is not a Muslim is an “Infidel”. The radical Muslim has directives to kill every infidel they possibly can and propel Islam into a world order religion. When we have people in the USA that harbor ideals like that, we are compelled to be proactive with self-preservation. “See something, say something” has that purpose. You are evidently one of those pitiful souls that just happened to forget about 9-11 with the loss of 3000 American unarmed civilians simply trying to go to work. Perhaps you forgot about the Fort Hood murders of 13 US Army soldiers by a US Army officer as he screamed “Allahu Akbar!” Innocent, unarmed people MURDERED in the name of Islam. You so easily forget about the Islamist cowards that get their jollies by shooting fish in a barrel!
      So, you can take that mess of hogwash you just spewed, pack it into your little ditty bag and go spend a few years in Afghanistan! If you are lucky enough to survive, we’ll give you a chance to re-write whatever it is you’re trying to convey. Right now, you don’t have a blithering clue as to what racism is!

  • Old Surfer

    He had the flu and yet went to his class anyway? Not very considerate of the well-being of his students.

  • Old Surfer

    He looks like he needs a shave, dressed like he was, he could have easily been mistaken for a homeless man trespassing. Everybody needs to get over this and move on. BTW, what does a “Muslim” look like? I was not aware that “Muslim” was a distinct “race/appearance”.

  • Heimie Schmelter

    There is a NATIONAL advertising campaign sponsored by the federal government. It’s known as “SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING!” It is designed to make a heightened awareness to everyday citizens of anything OR anyone exhibiting unusual behavior and actions that just doesn’t fit the picture. This method of acute observation has the intent of the prevention of terrorist acts, either of the domestic or international nature and will hopefully save lives.
    So…if I were to spot someone with a heavy jacket all zipped up on a 80 degree day, I would raise an eyebrow and make a prompt report to the authorities as well! Better safe than sorry and it has nothing to do with “profiling”, it is a questioning attitude and is essential in the effort of stifling people that want destroy Americans and our freedoms! They are definitely out there, they ARE waiting and they WILL strike again! Never, EVER forget 9/11!
    Mr. Rajan Juniku, if you don’t like how we do things here in America, then I encourage you to go find yourself a country that will treat you better! Otherwise, sit down, shut up and enjoy the great place where you are SO VERY privileged to reside!

    • guest45

      careful now, you will confuse some of our double dipping retired people.

      it is way better to speak up and protect innocent lives than to have a regret later in the week after the fact.

      • Old Surfer

        What do you mean by “double dipping retired people”?

  • Chance Nottaken

    He looks Caucasian to me. How did he get racially profiled by the officer if he was wrapped up in a coat anyway? Sorry buddy but just because you are Arab, doesnt mean you get a pass. Someone complained and it was investigated. Get over it. Your feelings are not worth taking a chance this day and time.

    • Mandy Wilkins

      He was racially profiled by the professor who called him in. In his call, he referred to him as an Indian and even stated he thought he was a professor at UNCW.

      • Chance Nottaken

        The caller told the 911 dispatcher he looked Indian. The 911 dispatcher did not tell the police officer that, therefore the officer didn’t know. The caller said he could’ve been a professor. I geuss we should only investigate white people so there’s no racial profiling. Is white a race? Its usually standard information. If someone was sneaking around your house and you had to call 911. Would you give a description or just say a human being is in my yard? I want to give as much info as I could. White, black, yellow, I’m saying what color you are so the police will get a description. They just gave there best description to police. If the officer was riding by and said oh there’s an Indian, I better check him out. That’s profiling.

  • Old Surfer

    Dressed like that, he probably looked more like a homeless trespasser. As for appearing to be “a Muslim” what, exactly does is a Muslim supposed to look like? If I met him walking down the street, there is no way I would think “there goes a Muslim”.

  • Guest- Just Another

    I’m glad actually. With events that occasionally happen having someone look out for the safety of other students/staff, whether an individual was inconvenienced or not is overall beneficial to society. As long as the officer was polite and accommodating to Dr. Juniku after the fact, I’m completely good with this. If my child were a student there I’d feel very safe.

    • Guest- Just Another

      As for his wife’s outrage, the safety of the many will sometimes inconvenience a few. If it were another individual dressed the same and her husband were there warming up and it was truly a dangerous situation, I believe she would be praising the response. We don’t live in an innocent world. If her husband is even a distant immigrant, I’m sure he’s familiar with profiling (least among other atrocities) that was probably very common in his home country by Serbs and Kosovar refugees. He should be proud that as a member of our society that the response of the police, of which he enjoys the same security, benefits him and his family as a whole.

      • Vog46

        We are AMERICA because everyone is innocent until proven guilty and we DON’T profile.
        If you LIKE profiling? MOVE to Serbia

        Vog
        Unaffiliated and darned proud of it

      • Heimie Schmelter

        We hope you’ll extend that invitation to yourself…quickly!

      • Old Surfer

        But was it really profiling? As I posted, which has yet to be shown, the description sounded like a homeless man trespassing. A face covered in stubble wearing too many clothes in 80 degree weather? No one thinks that sounds suspicious? He really didn’t look that “foreign” in the photo.

      • Vog46

        So if he’s homeless why the order to REMOVE the jacket?
        Your argument falls somewhat flat Old Surfer.

        Profiling is wrong! It implies that the person is dangerous, or hiding something AND that the police know this in advance – which they don’t.
        It’s a tragedy that this type of thing happens

        Vog
        Unaffiliated and darned proud of it

      • Old Surfer

        Because homeless people have been known to hide weapons, drugs, bottles, stolen items in their clothes. Much ado about nothing. It happened, everyone learned something from it, now move on.

      • Old Surfer

        Someone dressed in “heavy clothes” in 80 degree weather doesn’t sound a bit suspicious? While many homeless are “harmless”, some homeless people have been known to become violent. I’m just saying.

      • Vog46

        A simple question the cop should ask:”Hey who are you?” Reply “Professor so and so”.
        No need to remove the coat the guy has a STATE ISSUED ID.
        Show the ID case closed.
        Once the person is identified as a state government employee the cop automatically knows there is a level of safety there for all concerned.
        So if I say Old Surfer is a terrorist on the internet the cops SHOULD come to your home and conduct a search – RIGHT?
        The constitution PREVENTS this sort of thing from happening

        Whats next?
        “Ze papersz Pleeze” ??????
        Vog

      • Old Surfer

        We ain’t doing a Bogart movie.

      • Chance Nottaken

        The constitution provides protection against illegal search and seizure of private property. This guy was on government property and the officers duty is to answer the 911 call. I think he was trying to protect and serve. Idk.

      • imntacrook

        You seem to know a lot about police work.

      • guest45

        if you don’t like profiling to keep the innocent safe then you move to another country!

        example for the simple minded. If a white man robs the 7-11, there is no need searching black people at the roadblocks, he doesn’t fit the profile.

    • Mariah Oller

      Would you feel safe if it was your child that was being searched by an officer in front of his peers?

      • Old Surfer

        Not exactly a strip search, and he isn’t a child. I hope he and the police work everything out to everyone’s satisfaction, but with the anger far too many people feel toward the police these days, I have my doubts.

      • Vog46

        “Not exactly a strip search, and he isn’t a child”

        So no probable cause………

        VOg

      • Old Surfer

        Never mind, you appear to be a “cop-hater” to whom no law enforcement officer has ever done anything good. All Gestapo and SS.

      • imntacrook

        Yes. Much safer.

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