Research from the University of Calgary suggests that in a group of six students new to the school, five of them are unable to walk properly when inside of the MacEwan Student Centre.
U of C social sciences professor Richard Champlain spent the last three years studying the movement patterns of new students before publishing his findings earlier this month in the journal Modern Behaviour.
"Looking at these students wander directionless through the food court at the beginning of the semester was just remarkable," said Champlain. "I thought there had to be some connection there between the fall intake and the general loss of any sort of accepted human etiquette."
The study followed hundreds of first-year students as they zigzagged from side to side, darted out in front of foot traffic and stopped suddenly to wave at casual acquaintances from across the concourse.
Long-time MSC custodian Ben Jeffries said that nothing in the study is new to him.
"I clean up at least three spills a day in the first couple of weeks," said Jeffries. "I have no idea what the students are so mesmerized by that they can't pay attention to anything around them."
"Have these kids never seen an A&W before?"
But not everyone is convinced with the findings. Freshman Jacob Devoldare says students are under a lot of pressure when they come to a new school and have the ability to walk correctly if needed.
"It's something everybody goes through when they come here," said Devoldare. "You just want to fit in and you see someone obstruct hundreds of people trying to pass through a narrow corridor by the bank machines by looking around aimlessly at the walls for almost a full minute and you say to yourself, 'Hey, I can do that too.' "
Champlain hopes to use the data to determine if the lack of proper walking ability is linked to the building itself or just an inherent self-importance possessed by the students, most of who live with their parents and contribute nothing to society, their weary purposeless trudging slowing down those who do.
"I think there's so much that we can learn from these students," Champlain said, stopped by a group of first-years who seemed confused by the concept of a line in front of the Tim Hortons. "For the love of fuck, you idiots, move!"
Champlain's study comes soon after another recent report from the school that discovered everyone should just calm down and plan to leave a few minutes early in order to get to their pointless meetings.