At the Desautels Faculty of Management Career Fair at Hotel OMNI on September 23, SSMU VP Finance and Operations Shyam Patel was denied entry because he refused to remove a button from his lapel supporting striking members of the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA).
MUNACA has been on strike since September 1.
The annual Career Fair is open to all McGill students. Companies at the event included Imperial Tobacco, Bombardier Aerospace, L’Oreal, several banks and investment groups, among others.
Lorrie Quigg, MBA relationship manager at Desautels Career Services, spoke to The Daily about the event.
“We are typically at the front to make sure students make the best first impression that they can with employers,” Quigg said, mentioning “big badges,” “not appropriate hats,” and “the wrong kind of shoes” as the sorts of things they look out for.
Quigg stopped Patel, a U3 Management student, from entering the Career Fair.
“She basically said it was not appropriate to wear the pin and I told her that she should not be judging me by the pin that I am wearing,” said Patel.
Quigg said that it was Patel’s own admission that was the reaseon he was denied access to the event.
“[Corporations] pay to meet students who are looking for work,” she said. “He wasn’t looking for a job. That was not his intention to go, and I know because I specifically asked him.”
Patel said he was there “to see what corporations were there, as I am a Management student, and pick up any documents that may relate to my program.”
At this point, said Patel, Quigg conferred with a colleague and they gave him the choice of either taking off the MUNACA pin, or keeping it on and continuing to be denied entrance to the fair.
“Whatever you believe in, your cause is none of my business, and none of the employer’s business either,” Quigg said. “They’re not there for that, they’re there to talk about employment opportunities.”
Patel chose to leave, and said this was the first time he had ever been turned away from an event because of a pin.
“Ribbons, for example, for breast cancer or violence against women, I have worn to events like this and never been told to go away. I wear this MUNACA pin all the time and no one has ever said anything before,” he said.
“I think that it isn’t fair to say you aren’t political and then, to not let someone in because of a pin, is very political,” Patel said.
“I’m very disappointed and not content with the way that I was treated,” he continued.