A UW Tacoma student attending a UW Seattle career fair was asked to leave in a “very condescending manner” in what he calls an act of discrimination last month.
The UWT Computer Science junior, who wishes to remain anonymous, attended the career fairs held by UW Seattle’s Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department, which ran from Tuesday through Thursday, October 22-24, without incident until Thursday, when he was approached by a woman who asked if he was from the Tacoma campus. When he said yes, he was told to leave. “I was professionally dressed and not acting in anyway to be asked to leave for any reason,” he stated.
Although the UWT student told her that the online advertisement for the event did not specify it was Seattle campus exclusive, the woman denied this fact, claiming it did specify. Screenshots of the ad show the event titled, “UW CSE 2013-2014 Annual Industry Affiliates Meeting” show that the page did not include specific campus restrictions at the time of its last edit, which was Tuesday the 22nd at 7pm. Another screenshot shows the same advertisement but with “SEATTLE CAMPUS ONLY” included in the title. The page says that the last update was October 23, halfway through the three day event.
Ed Lazowska of the UW Seattle CSE department was contacted about this issue, and stated that the fact that the event is exclusive “to UW-S CSE students is indicated on the web and by signs posted at the entrances. We feel very badly that, despite this, confusion and hard feelings have arisen.”
Although Lazowska said the event is exclusively for CSE department students, the woman at the event stated it was for Seattle students only: neither of which restrictions are indicated on the website last edited the evening of October 22.
The UWT student maintains that neither he nor his friends who also attended saw any signs at the event, saying that there was “no registration required, it wasn’t a gated event, and there was no indication that it was simply for Seattle students.”
He said that in all his resumes and when speaking to prospective employers, he clearly stated he was a Tacoma campus student. He said that he “read the advertisement very clearly” and that a friend even asked a UWT staff member if they would be allowed to attend the event and was reassured that “as long as we had Husky ID cards there should not be a problem.”
Lazowska explained that the three-day long event is only intended for students of the department because it is “entirely expended” by the CSE department.
The UWT student understood this aspect of the event, but said that he “felt misled” that the event was going to be available to more students. “When I told the employers” about the incident, the student said that “they were either shocked or displeased that I was asked to leave.”
He said that his “ultimate goal” about highlighting this situation is that “if you’re going to have specific events only for certain students, have a registration required or make it a gated event, so that students are not being told by some random person at the event to leave, who you’re unsure of their credentials.” The lady who asked him to leave “didn’t have a badge, she clearly wasn’t a security officer.”
Although he accepts the premise for excluding UWT students from the event, the UWT student said, “I would hope in the future if an event will exclude certain students based on criteria, they would explicitly say in advance who they are excluding against.”