Solicitors Coming Indoors to Persuade Students
October 6, 2005 7:24 PM
The sight of solicitors along the path from the quad to the corner of 19th and Holloway Avenues is familiar to many students, but lately, several people have been spotted soliciting funds inside campus buildings.
Assistant Professor Venise Wagner said that a solicitor came into her Journalism 200 class and dropped off literature. The solicitor, who was handing out political pamphlets, just “dropped the materials in the seats,” according to Wagner.
At first, Wagner did not see the solicitor or notice anything out of the ordinary.
“Somebody stopped me before I started my lecture and asked me if the materials were part of the lecture,” Wagner said. “(The solicitor) didn’t even ask me if it was ok. I know how pesky they are, I guess they’re just trying to be aggressive.”
Wagner continued to teach her class after the incident happened.
“I put it out of my mind and kept on going,” said Wagner, who said she didn’t lodge a complaint against the solicitor. “I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I don’t get flustered.”
Another solicitor was spotted in the Reading Reserve Room of the J. Paul Leonard Library going from student to student asking for donations to an unknown charity. After taking one lap around the silent room, the man left.
According to Charlie Derby, a charity recruiter who came to SF State to solicit for a fundraising company, there is a ethical distinction between people who enter campus buildings to solicit funds, and those who stay outside.
“It’s a numbers game,” said Derby. “It’s the type of job that’s centered around commission, so some people do whatever it takes (and) you see the ugly side of sales.”
Derby, who only solicits outside, says that pressure from employers may drive solicitors to enter campus buildings and that inexperienced solicitors may be going about the business the wrong way.
“There’s a huge turnover rate,” said Derby. “It’s fast money. (Some people) don’t do it the right way. People get caught up in commission.”
According to Derby, if a charity receives complaints about their solicitors, the solicitors run the risk of being “let go.”
“That has happened before,” said Derby, who said that solicitors entering campus buildings happens “a lot of the time.” He said he does not do it himself because of a “sense of pride” about his job.
To some students, avoiding campus solicitors is not a problem. Jonathan Merolla, a BECA major, said that campus solicitors do not particularly bother him.
“I have respect for those who are out there trying to be positive,” said Merolla, 23, who said that he does not mind people who petition for the environment and student-related activities, but dislikes solicitors with political messages.
“It’s just their job. They’ve got to do it, I’m not against it,” said Excel Mercado, a finance major, as he walked away from a solicitor near the Administration building.
“We never (go inside buildings),” said Jesse Schele, another solicitor. “We don’t usually come here. I don’t know about approaching people when they’re sitting.”
But Schele said that entering buildings to solicit for funds would be a good strategy if it were allowed.
“When people abuse the job, people start to reject it,” said Derby. “When you’re wearing a charity’s t-shirt, you represent that charity. You don’t want to give them a bad name. Pride is crucial to the job.”
According to Director of Public Safety Kim Wible and Interim Director of Public Affairs Ellen Griffin, complaints about solicitors are handled by Public Safety.
“If someone does observe someone disrupting a class, public safety would respond,” said Griffin.
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