Shaw University President Paulette Dillard is “outraged” after a bus full of the institution’s students and staff members was searched using “drug-sniffing dogs.”
The incident in question reportedly took place in South Carolina on October 5, 2022. A group of more than a dozen students and at least two staff advisers was traveling from Raleigh, North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia for the Center for Financial Advancement Conference when police stopped the vehicle for a “minor traffic violation.” During the traffic stop, Dillard says that officers boarded the vehicle and asked the officers where they were headed. From there, Dillard says that “multiple sheriff deputies and drug-sniffing dogs searched the suitcases of the students and staff.”
“In a word, I am ‘outraged.’ This behavior of targeting Black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored nor tolerated. Had the students been White, I doubt this detention and search would have occurred. It’s 2022,” Dillard stated.
“However, this scene is reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s — armed police, interrogating innocent Black students, conducting searches without probable cause, and blood-thirsty dogs. It’s hard to imagine. Yet, it happened to the Shaw University community, and it is happening throughout this nation in [an] alarming fashion. It must be stopped.”
No illegal substances were found during the search and the group was able to travel to and from the conference safely. Moving forward, Dillard asked that the university investigate this matter further.
“I wish to be perfectly clear. The action taken by South Carolina Law Enforcement in Spartanburg County was unfair and unjust. I firmly believe had the bus been occupied by White students, they would not have been detained,” she continued.
“I have asked our Shaw University General Counsel to investigate this situation as we explore options for recourse — legal and otherwise — available to our students and the university.”