Update on the James Building occupation
Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Principal
I am writing to update you tonight about the James Building occupation. Around 5 p.m., we cut power to the 6th floor, leaving emergency lighting on for safety. Some people have expressed concern on Twitter that security presence has been increased, fearing, perhaps, that the cut in power meant that the administration was going to take further steps. Security was not increased. We still want the 11 remaining protestors to leave peacefully, and we encourage them to do so.
This morning, security officers had told us that one protestor was looking quite ill, and several were coughing. Professor Nicell then offered medical attention, but the occupier he was talking to did not feel it was necessary at that time. When we read a tweet later in the day saying that a protestor was ill and needed medication, Professor Nicell asked Dr. Tellier of the Student Health Services to go over to the James Building and meet with the protestors, which he did. They now have his cell phone number if they feel sick and would like to consult him. The ill protestor left before Dr. Tellier arrived.
Occupiers have water, some light, access to washrooms and to whatever food they brought in with them. They are free to leave the building if they are hungry, feel ill or need things like medication, as they have been free to do from the beginning of the occupation.
A theme of the responses to these updates is concern that the protestors are not facing any real consequences for their actions, and that McGill is now, as one student put it, a “consequence-free environment.” (Some people have also written of course to express support of the occupation.) As Professor Masi wrote to the protestors on the first day of the occupation, complaints will be lodged against the protestors under the Student Code of Conduct, and the normal procedures will be followed as a result. We are still doing everything in our power to continue to find a peaceful end to the protest and we will keep the lines of communications open with them.
The James Building will be closed again tomorrow, and staff continue to do their best to provide services from alternate locations on campus or at home. Researchers needing to contact the Research and International Relations office can do so via email, and graduate students should go to Service Point on McTavish Street. Questions can be sent to info.mcgill [at] mcgill.ca and someone will forward your questions to the right person to make sure you get an answer. Again, we regret any inconvenience you may have experience, and we hope this will be resolved soon.