It is clear that the events of November 10, whatever their proximate or remote causes, have left some wounds that must be healed. The submissions I received reveal that some catharsis within the University is required in order to respond to the experiences and sentiments of many people. The recommendations I set out below have a sharper focus. The themes that underlie what I propose are clarity and community. The events of November 10 reveal that there is much uncertainty both within and between sectors of the University community when it comes to matters related to the modes, mechanics and consequences of civic protest on campus. Most of my recommendations invite dialogue and clear articulation of each constituency’s expectations for the benefit of the McGill community as a whole and the individuals and groups within it.
In accordance with the mandate I was given, I have sought to focus my recommendations on the type of events that occurred on November 10 and the measures that may be envisaged to avoid their repetition. I set out specific recommendations that address the following broad areas: (i) the scope and meaning of free expression and peaceful assembly on campus; (ii) the nature and scope of security on campus; and (iii) the University’s external relationships, with particular attention to the presence of police forces on campus.
Recommendation 1: University authorities should provide and participate in a forum open to all members of the University community to discuss the meaning and scope of the rights of free expression and peaceful assembly on campus.
Recommendation 2: University Authorities should revisit the standard operating procedures of McGill’s Security Services, with a view to articulating clear directives or frameworks in relation to demonstrations, protests and occupations on campus.
Recommendation 3: Security Services should intensify its community partnership activities and establish fixed lines of communication with the different constituencies on campus, particularly with student groups and University community organizations. University Authorities should revisit the lines of authority, chain of command and channels of communication between senior administration and Security Services.
Recommendation 4: University authorities should review their immediate response to the events of November 10 from the point of view of emergency management, and publicly address any concerns that may emerge from this review.
Recommendation 5: University authorities should establish clear guidelines allocating authority to call for police assistance in the specific context of demonstrations, occupations and other forms of civic protest.
Recommendation 6: McGill senior administrators and Security Services should continue to develop a working relationship with the authorities of the neighborhood police stations (Postes de Quartier) and the authorities of the SPVM, with a view to establishing a shared understanding of the role to be played by the police, particularly its Intervention Group, in the context of demonstrations, occupations and other forms of civic protest on campus.