McGill University Students Occupy Board of Governors Meeting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

McGill University Students Occupy Board of Governors Meeting

MONTREAL, November 29 – On Tuesday afternoon, the McGill Board of Governors held a meeting at the James Administration Building.  A student protest, originally planned to be held in front of the main entrance, gathered outside the building.  The group then decided to enter the building in order to attend the regularly held open session portion of the meeting.  When the open session came to an end and the students were asked to leave the room, they refused to depart.  A five minute recess was called and the Board was unable to continue the meeting as planned.

The Board of Governors makes the final decision in all matters of governance at the University.  While Senate is nominally given say over matters of academic relevance, this is at the discretion of senior administrators who themselves are only accountable to the Board of Governors.  The Board of Governors is made up of only two student members (one undergraduate and one postgraduate), six faculty and staff members, several senior administrators and twelve members-at-large, who are drawn mainly from the upper echelons of the business community.

As students of McGill University we protest the role that the Board of Governors plays at this institution as a fundamentally unrepresentative and undemocratic body.  The members-at-large are not a part of the McGill campus community and are therefore inherently disconnected from the interests of students, faculty and staff.  We oppose the authority granted to the Board of Governors and seek a genuinely representative governing body, one that would adequately address the real balance of interests between workers, students, teaching, research, and Quebec society as a whole.

Press contact: Jaime MacLean
Phone: (514) 546-7077
Email: jaime.l.maclean@gmail.com

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To the students of UC Davis

We are writing to offer our solidarity in the aftermath of the events that occurred on your campus on November 18 and to express full support for the general strike you have called for November 28.  Like so many others around the world, we have followed the stories, photos, and videos that emerged from your university and are horrified by the police brutality you endured as well as the inadequate response to it from your administration.  At the same time, we are heartened by your steadfast actions and the ways in which you continue to mobilize as a community.

The struggles you face–massive tuition fee increases, cuts to public education and other social services, the securitization of your campuses and the criminalization of student dissent–are struggles that we face here too.  On November 10, 200 000 university and college students across the province of Quebec staged a one-day strike and 35 000 marched in Montreal against a proposed 75% tuition fee increase.  This demonstration was followed by a student occupation of the James Administration Building at McGill University to protest McGill’s unfair labour practices and central role in lobbying the Quebec government for higher tuition fees.  The fourteen student occupiers were beaten by campus security personnel, and two hundred supporters demonstrating outside were clubbed, pepper-sprayed, tear-gassed and ultimately forced off campus by riot police.

As you know, similar scenes have recently taken place at UC Berkeley and CUNY’s Baruch College, and these recall earlier confrontations in Puerto Rico, Chile, the United Kingdom, Greece and elsewhere.  The students affected by these events all stand for the same principles: freedom of speech and assembly, accessible post-secondary education, and the democratization of all facets of university life.  Increasingly, crucial decisions about our universities are being made by a small but interconnected group of administrators whose primary allegiance is to the corporations that direct their governing boards, not the students, faculty and staff who make up our communities.  We have just learned that our own Principal, Heather Munroe-Blum, sits on your Chancellor’s Board of Advisors.  We are also aware that your Chancellor, Linda Katehi, has served as an advisor to the Greek government, which recently abolished the nearly forty-year old law that had banned police from entering university campuses upon her recommendation.  These are not mere coincidences.

Given the international context of the challenges we collectively face, our student movements cannot remain isolated from one another.  As we strive to build strong relationships across national borders, we can learn from each other’s experiences and continue our struggles knowing that we stand together in solidarity.  The students of McGill University are with you, now and always.

The Students of November 10
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec