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The president of a historically black university in North Carolina publicly called law enforcement in northern South Carolina on Monday after a traffic stop involving students and staff on a bus. In a statement, Paulette Dillard, president of Shaw University, a private historically black Baptist university in Raleigh, described the traffic stoppage she said occurred in Spartanburg County on October 5. Read the full statement here. “under the pretext of a minor traffic violation. racks under the bus, Dillard said. ‘” Dillard wrote. “This behavior of targeting Black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored or tolerated. If the students had been white, I doubt that this detention and search would have taken place.” The year is 2022. “However, this scene is reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s—armed police, interrogations of innocent black searches without probable cause and bloodthirsty dogs. It’s hard to imagine. Yet it happened to the Shaw University community, and it is happening across the country in alarming ways. It has to be put to an end. “To be clear, nothing illegal was discovered during this search by South Carolina law enforcement officers. Officers said they stopped the bus for swerving and issued to the driver a warning ticket for ‘inappropriate use of the lane.’ Throughout this nerve-wracking and potentially dangerous situation, our students and staff behaved calmly and with tremendous restraint.” I will modernize the words of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., with mine, “The ultimate measure of a man and a woman is not where they stand in times of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in times of challenge and controversy.” much more sinister. “So, I am extremely proud of our students and staff and how they responded under very difficult circumstances. I am happy to report that they have arrived safely in Atlanta to fully enjoy the conference. from the Center for Financial Advancement, where they actively participated in sessions on “We Are Forever Grateful. “However, I wish to be perfectly clear. The action taken by South Carolina law enforcement in Spartanburg County was unfair and unjust. I strongly believe that if the bus had been occupied by white college students, they would not have been detained.” I have asked our General Counsel at Shaw University to investigate this situation as we explore the options for recourse – legal and otherwise – available to our students and the university. Paulette Dillard, Ph.D., President “WYFF News 4 contacted the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, Highway Patrol, and Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. I will update this story with responses from these agencies as they are provided.

On Monday, the president of a historically black university in North Carolina publicly called law enforcement in northern South Carolina after a traffic stop involving students and staff on a bus.

In a statement, Paulette Dillard, president of Shaw University, a private, historically black Baptist university in Raleigh, described the traffic stoppage she said occurred in Spartanburg County on Oct. 5.

Read the full statement here.

Shaw University

Paulette Dillard, Ph.D., President of Shaw University

Dillard said 18 Shaw University students and two staff advisers were traveling on school business by contract bus in Atlanta when they were arrested “on the pretext of a minor traffic violation.”

The statement said officers boarded the bus and asked the driver where he was headed.

At that time, several sheriff’s deputies and drug-sniffing dogs searched the suitcases of students and staff in luggage racks under the bus, Dillard said.

The rest of the statement describes what happened after that and Dillard’s reaction:

“In a word, I am ‘outraged,'” Dillard wrote. “This behavior of targeting black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored or tolerated. If the students had been white, I doubt this detention and search would have occurred.

“We are in 2022.

“However, this scene is reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s – armed police, interrogating innocent black students, conducting searches without probable cause and bloodthirsty dogs. It’s hard to imagine. Yet it happened to the Shaw University community, and it’s happening across this country in alarming ways.

“To be clear, nothing illegal was discovered during this search by South Carolina law enforcement officers. Officers said they stopped the bus for swerving and issued to the driver a warning ticket for ‘inappropriate use of the lane.’ Throughout this troubling and potentially dangerous situation, our students and staff behaved calmly and with enormous restraint.

“I will modernize the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with my own, “The ultimate measure of a man and a woman is not where they stand in times of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in times of challenge and controversy.”

“Our students stood tall in the midst of a disturbing and humiliating experience and thanks to their dignified and professional response, the situation did not escalate into something far more sinister.

“So, I am extremely proud of our students and staff and how they responded under very difficult circumstances. I am happy to report that they have arrived safely in Atlanta to fully enjoy the conference. from the Center for Financial Advancement, where they actively participated in sessions on financial literacy and home ownership, and returned home safely to campus without incident.

“We are eternally grateful.

“However, I wish to be perfectly clear. The actions taken by South Carolina law enforcement in Spartanburg County were unfair and unfair. I strongly believe that if the bus had been manned by white students, they would not would not have been detained.

“I have asked our General Counsel at Shaw University to investigate this situation as we explore the options for recourse, legal and otherwise, available to our students and the university.

“Paulette Dillard, Ph.D., President”

WYFF News 4 contacted the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, Highway Patrol and Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.

We’ll update this story with responses from those agencies as they are provided.

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