When a student entered the men’s washroom, he didn’t expect to see two men weighing cocaine on a scale.
The student’s run-in with the two men was on the third floor of the Fine Arts Building (FAB) at the University of Alberta. The U of A’s protective services is currently looking into the matter. The Music Students’ Association (MSA) has since made a public call on their Facebook page for the university to address security in FAB.
On March 29 at around 8 p.m., the student, a fourth-year music student, was playing board games with friends in FAB when he went to use the washroom. His entrance startled the two men — who he described as unkempt, wearing torn jeans and baggy shirts — as they were weighing cocaine on a scale. When the student left, he said that one of the men tried to tell him what he saw “never happened.”
Afterward, the student said one man followed him and tried to get his attention. To get away, he rushed to an area behind a locked door.
“I had a bit of an adrenaline spike and kind of freaked out and just wanted to get out of there,” he said.
After he closed the door behind him, the student said the man threw his arms up and walked away.
The student wasn’t the only person to witness the incident. Music instructor Shannon Hiebert said she saw the two men trying to enter the locked area after the student had entered it.
After the student closed the door, he called UAPS about what he saw but was told they couldn’t do anything about the incident, as there were no cameras in the washroom.
UAPS inspector James Elkow initially said in an email that UAPS had not been contacted about the incident, but replied afterward that they are now aware of it. He also mentioned that other events have been reported, but were comparable to security issues in other parts of campus. In the meantime, he encourages other students to report what they see to UAPS, even if the event has passed.
The student showed The Gateway the spot where he had seen the two men the night before. On the washroom counter was a red toque allegedly worn by one of the men, as well as a spot of blood near the kitchen sink.
Security has been an ongoing issue in FAB, causing unease within the Department of Music. In October 2017, the university put out a bulletin about suspicious men hiding in women’s washrooms. This and other incidents prompted the department to hire peace officers to patrol the building.
Armand Birk, a vice-president in the MSA, said there have been a number of other incidents in FAB this year. One incident involved an individual who was seen with a duffel bag full of hatchets. Birk said that man was removed from the building by UAPS.
Birk added that while the building is getting cameras installed, he’s been told by the university they won’t be in place until September 2018.
Editor’s Note (April 5, 2018): The source’s name has been removed from the article due to safety concerns.