On-campus solicitation

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Incidences of solicitation are fairly common on the UW campus. Undocumented groups will often settle themselves along frequently trafficked stretches approaching students for donations.


Each semester, UW plays host to a variety of charities and vendors. Generally their presence is both welcomed and sanctioned, yet it’s not uncommon to find illicit groups, often under similar pretences, asking staff and students for money. With so many groups present, it can become difficult for students and staff to know who is and isn’t allowed on campus.


“We don’t allow any solicitation to occur on the campus unless it’s been approved and approval is very difficult to get,” said Dan Anderson, director of UW Police Services.


In order to gain permission, charities or vendors need to be backed by a faculty or approved by campus.


Similar conditions apply to food vendors. No additional food vendors are permitted on campus, unless they’ve been approved by Food Services. 


“If it’s done through a faculty, if it’s part of the student experience here, then of course it can be done. Normally they will try to stay within their own faculty as they are soliciting and gathering funds and stuff but not necessarily,” Anderson said.


“What we would normally ask is that people would approach a dean, for example a member of our executive council. We would generally say, if a student wants to get involved with some fundraising on campus, wants to get friends, colleague [sic] involved in fundraising then they could do that … by talking to somebody in authority,” said Nick Manning, director of media relations and issues management. 


Currently, UW has no official policy in place to mandate solicitation practices on campus.


“We’re going to look at that. We’ve got a long list of policies and issues that we’re going through right now, and we’ll prioritize that list, but solicitation is one of the things we will look at as a part of that lengthy multi-year review of policies on campus,” Manning said.


In dealing with cases of trespassing, UWPS can remove groups from campus in accordance with provincial policy.


“If we have problems with them, we can actually issue them warnings under the Trespassing to Property Act, saying that if you come back on here, now that you have been told that you can’t be here, if you come back on here, you will be charged,” Anderson said.


When faced with these circumstances, groups will often position themselves on campus borders. Once groups begin to occupy city property, they become the concern of regional police.


 “You’ll see the odd time either anti-abortion groups or pro-abortion groups are at the front gates, trying to talk to people, sometimes trying to get donations. We can’t stop them from being on the sidewalk … that’s city property,” Anderson said.


 “This is a pretty frequent thing for us. Certainly a week wouldn’t go by when somebody’s not in here … We are a pretty big target group for some of the people out there,” Anderson said.


On OMGUW, students have been anonymously describing their experiences with individuals claiming to be collecting money for the charity group Children’s Joy Foundation. 


Appearances by the Children&rsquo;s Joy Foundation are not uncommon on Canadian campuses. Last October, an article by <em>The Brunswickan</em> reported similar incidents, where people claiming association with the charity aggressively approached students.


Although Children&rsquo;s Joy Foundation is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency, that grants them no privileges to solicit on the UW campus.


&nbsp;&ldquo;As far as I know it&rsquo;s completely external. It&rsquo;s not one of the federation clubs, it&rsquo;s not something that&rsquo;s been endorsed by one of the faculties,&rdquo; Anderson said.


Students are advised to contact UWPS if individuals from the Children&rsquo;s Joy Foundation approach them.


&ldquo;If students, staff, or faculty see somebody here who they think they are being accosted by or being approached by and people want to get money off them, give us a call. We&rsquo;ll determine whether its been approved by a faculty or approved within the university. If it hasn&rsquo;t, we&rsquo;ll ask the people to leave,&rdquo; Anderson said.


&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t want anybody walking around on campus that&rsquo;s a part of our community to be bothered by people coming up and trying to get money out of them. Whether it&rsquo;s a legitimate charity of not, we just don&rsquo;t want them here interfering with our normal business,&rdquo; he said.
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