Shaw University President Dr. Paulette Dillard is speaking out after eighteen Shaw University students were stopped and searched while riding to an economic conference in Atlanta on Oct. 5.

On Monday, Dr. Dillard released a statement saying students from the university were racially profiled by South Carolina law enforcement officers when their bus was stopped for a minor traffic violation and drug-sniffing dogs were used to search their luggage.

The group of students and two advisors were on their way to the Center for Financial Advancement Conference when the incident happened in Spartanburg County.

Dillard attributes race as a deciding factor to search the bus.

“In a word, I am ‘outraged,’” Dillard wrote. “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.”

Dillard noted that nothing illegal was found in the search and that the driver was issued a warning ticket for improper lane use.

She called the situation “reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s — armed police, interrogating innocent Black students, conducting searches without probable cause, and blood-thirsty dogs” and the deputies’ actions “unfair and unjust.”

Dillard said she has reached out to Shaw University’s general counsel and is exploring legal action against South Carolina law enforcement.