Saturday update on the James occupation
Message from Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance)
I offer my daily update for those of you who may be interested in the status of the James Building occupation. Ten occupiers remain. The position of the administration has not changed, nor has the position of the occupiers. The occupiers have revised one of their demands, which you can read here: http://6partylive.tumblr.com/post/17396539818/public-release-6party-2-0s-first-communique
One of the demands of the occupiers is for the administration to recognize the results of a November student referendum concerning QPIRG. Before the occupation started, the administration suggested to both QPIRG and CKUT that the University would recognize the results as support for the existence of these organizations. However, it said it would not recognize the results concerning a change in the system students used to opt out of paying the voluntary fee for these organizations. The administration instead asked both the organizations to use a different question in the March referendum, one that clearly asked students to whether they wanted to make their fee non-opt-outable (compulsory). CKUT has accepted this offer, but negotiations have not concluded with QPIRG . If you would like more background, you can read QPIRG’s statement (http://qpirgmcgill.org/2012/02/qpirg-mcgill-heartened-by-overwhelming-show-of-student-support-on-campus/) and the statement from Provost Anthony C. Masi (http://www.mcgill.ca/channels/announcements/item/?item_id=213969).
Yesterday QPIRG contacted the administration and issued a public statement proposing three-way negotiations between the occupiers, QPIRG and the administration. (See http://qpirgmcgill.org/2012/02/qpirg-mcgill-proposes-three-way-negotiations-between-protesters-administration-and-qpirg/) Earlier today Professor Jim Nicell met with QPIRG representatives to see if they had any suggestions, other than three-way negotiations with the occupiers on their two demands, to end the occupation of the sixth-floor offices. The QPIRG representatives suggested only that the administration should negotiate simultaneously with both QPIRG and the occupiers on the occupiers’ demands. As the administration has said from the beginning of the occupation, we will not enter into negotiations on the specific demands of the occupiers, as we will not negotiate with anyone disrupting university activities in this manner; we will continue to work with QPIRG to try to come to an agreement on the referendum issue.