Provisional Protocol Regarding Demonstrations, Protests, and Occupations on McGill University Campuses

Published: 12 February 2012

Dear members of the McGill community,

The occupation of the sixth floor offices of the Deputy Provost by a small group of students, even though it came to a peaceful end, is not the way in which we would like to see differences of opinion expressed on our campuses.

By issuing the provisional protocol (see below or download attachment) the administration does not intend to short-circuit the important consultative process under way about the expression of fundamental rights and freedoms and the responsibilities and obligations that accompany them. However, the events of the last few days clearly indicate the need to issue an interim set of guidelines that outline key issues and elements.

We do not intend this protocol to stifle exchanges, but rather to ensure that they can occur in a safe, civil, and respectful manner. We urge you to consider the protocol carefully. We look forward to your input during the upcoming University-wide consultation.

The provisional protocol for demonstrations, protests, and occupations on McGill campuses will remain in effect until further notice.



Anthony C. Masi, Provost

Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance)


Provisional Protocol Regarding Demonstrations, Protests, and Occupations on McGill University Campuses

McGill University strives to be a place for open and frank dialogue, both inside and outside the classroom, with opportunity for the respectful and civil expression of a variety of opinions. As recommended by the Jutras Report, the University is currently embarking on a comprehensive consultation process and dialogue into the ways in which freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly can be protected as appropriate means of protest and dissent on our campuses.

As we await the results of this important process, the community needs to know how the administration will respond to actions that contravene internal regulations and policies, such as those contained in the Administrative Handbook and the Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities, or any federal or provincial laws or municipal by-laws.

To meet this obligation, the following provisional protocol regarding demonstrations, protests, and occupations has been developed.

Demonstrations and protests may occur and will not be interfered with unless they:

  • compromise the University's ability to maintain a safe and secure environment for all members of the McGill community and for visitors to our campuses;
  • impede the conduct of University activities, such as teaching, research, support services, administration, or other meetings and events duly authorized by the University;
  • involve explicit or implied threats to persons;
  • pose a risk to University property or assets;
  • occur in private offices or spaces, classrooms, laboratories or libraries, or restricted areas;
  • obstruct access to, or egress from, buildings or spaces inside them that are generally open to members of the University community;
  • continue beyond the normal operating hours of the University facilities in which they occur.

If a demonstration or protest takes place, McGill Security Services will monitor the situation. If demonstrators or protesters refuse to comply with instructions from Security Services personnel, appropriate actions will be taken, including calling civil authorities, if necessary.

Occupations of private offices or spaces, classrooms, laboratories or libraries, or other restricted areas will not be tolerated. If any type of occupation occurs and the occupiers refuse to leave when requested to do so, civil authorities will be called.

Demonstrators, protesters, and occupiers are responsible for their actions. Depending on the circumstances, behaviours that contravene this protocol may lead to disciplinary measures under McGill regulations and policies covering students, faculty, and administrative and support staff or under civil or criminal law.

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