A class project was cut short when two students were escorted out of MacEwan Student Centre for attempting to conduct a five-question student survey about fair trade coffee.
Eric Shorten and Jenn Marshall, both Development Studies students, were handing out the survey as part of a General Studies project when they were confronted by a food court supervisor who said Campus Security would be called if they didn't leave.
"The food service manager looked at what we were handing out," explained Shorten. "Then someone came up to us, we tried to explain, but he said 'you can't do this, you have to have a booth.'"
The pair said they didn't want to risk an altercation with security, so they agreed to be escorted out of the food court, and took refuge in the Den.
"They threatened to call campus security if we didn't leave," said Marshall. "We thought it would be okay to hand out surveys in Mac Hall because we have blanket ethics approval."
Students' Union Vice-President Operations and Finance Joel Lockwood said the incident was a misunderstanding with a food court supervisor. As a result, the SU plans to develop formal policy surrounding student surveys and soliciting in MSC.
"If it's a student who wants to solicit people it'll probably go through my office on a case by case basis," said Lockwood. "It wasn't anything malicious."
Local bars and nightclubs often try and solicit students in MSC, and this could lead to an invasion of student privacy according to Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz.
"We do have people, especially from bars, who hand out material promoting drinking and their cabaret events, then the SU will give security a call," explained Fritz. "This happens about a half a dozen times a year."
In addition to their new policy, the SU will also offer an apology to the students.