The adult entertainment industry may be sneaking into fall job fairs, B.C.’s Advanced Education Minister has warned postsecondary schools across the province.
“British Columbia’s students are not for sale,” Naomi Yamamot wrote in a letter urging colleges and universities to ban adult entertainment industry recruitment at their employment fairs so vulnerable students are not seduced into a risky industry by cash incentives.
Her letter came after reports that two Windsor, Ont., strip clubs are attempting to attract postsecondary students to work as dancers by offering education programs with partial tuition payments.
The minister’s warning may be superfluous, because most B.C. schools have strict guidelines governing what prospective employers are allowed to use their employment services to ensure student safety.
“We are not typically in the business of policing morality,” said Tim Rahilly, Simon Fraser University’s associate vice-president students and international. “Our focus really would be on safety.” The university reserves the right to refuse recruitment that it deems potentially unsafe for students, according to campus guidelines.
No strip clubs have ever asked to exhibit at the university’s annual fall career fair, Mr. Rahilly said, but he suspects they would not be welcome due to safety concerns.
“These are places where – I’m assuming – alcohol is served,” he said, listing potential problems. “I’m assuming that the hours of work are late in the evening.” Similarly, Mr. Rahilly said SFU does not allow wait staff and bartender positions to be advertised at its employment fairs or on its online jobs board. However, if an exotic dance club could prove it was a safe workplace, he said, the university might be forced to approve its application.
The University of British Columbia is somewhat more lenient. Positions with late hours in establishments serving alcohol – such as waiting on tables or bar tending – have been posted on its online job bank, said Kim Kiloh, director of UBC’s Centre for Student Involvement and Career Services.
But over the past five years, a handful of postings seeking adult entertainers have been taken down, she said. Typically, when ads are rejected, Ms. Kiloh said, it is because of concerns about the nature of the work, compensation, or Better Business Bureau ratings. While most postsecondary students are adults who can make their own decisions, said Ms. Kiloh, other avenues for finding such jobs are available.
Dave Pinton, British Columbia Institute of Technology’s media relations manager, said BCIT removes adult entertainment job ads from its online service. “As adults, people can make their decisions,” he said. “But to have [these job postings] come through eJobs – where we’re supposed to be providing a trusted source of employers – would not be appropriate.”
Anisa Mottahed, the manager of UBC’s Sexual Assault Support Centre, said that although the centre is not for abolition of the sex trade, it supports the university’s decision to prevent on-campus recruitment because some UBC students are minors.
“They could be recruiting someone who is a minor," she said, “and so that is really not okay.”