Security guards were seen not wearing masks at the Arts Student Body Council’s (ASBC) Winter
Affair event in University Centre near the end of January.
Video taken at the event shows security guards inside and outside the multipurpose room that the event was hosted in not wearing masks.
University of Manitoba’s mask policy states that to fight the spread of COVID-19, masks must be worn in all indoor spaces on campus unless in a food-designated area.
Myrrhanda Novak, acting director of government relations for the University of Manitoba, provided details on the incident to the Manitoban via email and said that UM Security Services “consistently follows and helps to enforce the mask mandate.”
“The individuals pictured are external contract guards, hired by event organizers,” she said.
“Event organizers are responsible to ensure that event staff follow COVID policies.”
The security company in question was Impact Security Group.
However, ASBC president Chloe Dreilich-Girard told the Manitoban via email that members of ASBC were never informed by Security Services that it was their responsibility to enforce the use of masks.
“As this is a company vetted directly by UM Security Services and has been used for multiple events on campus, we believed that because of this existing relationship they knew prior to their arrival at the University what the mask mandate is,” she wrote.
“We did not feel that we were in a position to police an external security team during an already busy night; furthermore, campus Security Services were also present and did not enforce the mask mandate.”
She said that ASBC feels it is a personal safety concern to expect student volunteers to approach security guards and “attempt to force them to put on a mask.”
“We could also not request that security leave the event if they did not comply, as their presence is mandated at social events on campus,” she explained.
Dreilich-Girard said that her council adhered to the mask mandate and informed everyone who entered to wear a mask.
“It is a bit confusing that although it is the responsibility of security, the responsibility also somehow falls onto student volunteers who are not equipped to handle a confrontation should it escalate,” she said.
She said that ASBC would not hire this company again and will “endeavour to make sure all external contractors also adhere to university protocol” in the future.