October 15 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 25  

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"Sleazy" solicitors a campus nuisance

By Anton Vidgen
Gazette Staff

Vendors renting out space in the University Community Centre atrium are furious at student solicitors promoting their products without permission, though authorities say efforts are ongoing to stem the illegal activity.

“They’re very aware that they’re not supposed to be here,” said UCC Reservations co-ordinator Ernie Wright. “Any sort of promotional activity has to come through our office.”

Wright said promotional companies approach local businesses to do advertising for them, then sub-contract students who sell packages or provide materials to anyone that shows interest.

These students often pay a base fee up-front for the packages they plan to sell, then charge students a higher amount from which they derive their profit, Wright said. As a result, consumers are often paying higher amounts than they could be and it is also harder for officials to lay blame, she added.

“No one’s taking responsibility so there’s no way to prosecute [anyone],” Wright said. “It’s a real hit-and-run.”

Calling their tactics “sleazy,” Phil Lanctot, who rents out a $250-a-day booth to sell jewelry, said yesterday he has often observed illegal marketers in the UCC atrium, adding university policy must be effectively enforced to quell illicit activities.

“Once you let one group in [illegally], if you don’t police it you’ll have people selling watches off their arms,” Lanctot said. “After a while, students might think that’s how it works.”

Wright said this sort of illegal activity is somewhat of a phenomenon that does not occur every day. “As a general rule, we really have a lot more control over the building,” she said.

An individual identified as an illegal marketer by both Wright and Lanctot denied any wrongdoing. “My boss does the clearance for me,” said Trevor Lin, an employee of the promotional company Advanced Marketing. “I just do my job.”

Another person who Lanctot said was a colleague of Lin’s, said he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing, adding he only provides a useful service to students. “We’re providing a service because students love it,” said the individual who identified himself only as Mike.

Lin said he was also unaware of any problems associated with his presence in the atrium. Advanced Marketing could not be reached for comment.

Because they are on private property, Wright said police can be called and the offenders might be charged, though this has rarely happened in the past.

“If these companies have not booked through [UCC] Reservations then it is inappropriate that they have a presence on campus,” said University Students’ Council VP-campus issues Adrienne Kennedy. “I think for the most part they do know [about the policy],” she said. “They just need to be aware.”



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