The group captured part of the incident on video and posted it to Facebook where it has since been watched more than 170,000 times.
"We're just a bit worried about your presence in our store. ... We're just worried you might steal something," the employee is heard saying in that video.
When one of the students asks why they'd steal something, the employee cuts off them off with “Guys, end of discussion. I need to ask you to leave our store.”
Abdulahi Haji Ali told Australian TV station SBS, "I didn't believe the employee said that. I thought I was day dreaming."
The president of Maribyrnong College praised the students for taking the video, and later escorted them back to the store seeking answers. He told the TV station that the store manager welcomed them in and said they were "welcome any time."
According to The Independent, Apple is investigating the incident and has issued a statement:
“We believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. That applies throughout our company, around the world with no exceptions.”
Another one of students, Mohamed Semra, wrote on Facebook that he wasn't blaming Apple for the incident.
“It was just one employee,” he said, “and we shouldn’t blame the [whole] company just for one employee’s mistake.”