What do you think of this report?
To let us know, report.comments [at] mcgill.ca (send us an e-mail) and be sure to indicate whether you'd like your comment to be posted publicly on this page.
- Professor Thomas M. Quinn, Chemical Engineering/Génie chimique:
"Based on the report, I think the University administration reacted very reasonably. I hope that I would have done the same thing in their position. I'm not so sure that I would have, for the following reason: This is not the 1960s (the "golden age" of student protest), and university protests are occurring in a much different context nowadays. It is common for shootings and assaults and all manner of terrorist (in the true sense of the word) activities to occur on university campuses. Students and employees at universities go on deadly rampages with frightening regularity these days. I'm a professor, and I want would-be protestors to know that I actually think about this stuff a lot. It scares the crap out of me if I think about it too much, because I have a wife and kids at home. Therefore when I hear about people storming into a building and occupying offices with masks on their faces, I am amazed that it doesn't end with an immediate and severe beatdown. If a masked person stormed into my office, I would likely be thinking about nothing other than my own survival, and I would likely retain very little regard for the intruder's well-being or right to protest in my efforts to remove the threat. I'm not sure if people realize what they are doing when they storm a building with masks on, but these days it is easily interpreted as an immediate threat to others' safety, even (especially?) on a university campus. That's the world we live in today, and that's part of the context within which I believe protestors must try to understand the university's reaction to their protests, and the Montreal police's reaction too. Not so long ago I was a student myself, just opening my eyes to the world around me and its injustices, and just beginning to appreciate my own power to effect change. I have engaged (and still engage) in a few protests myself, and I'm proud to work among students and employees at McGill with the brains and the guts to do the same. But protestors must think carefully about how the world has changed between 1965 and 2012, and what sorts of horrible things their actions and appearance could reasonably be interpreted as representing nowadays."
- Adriana, Student/Étudiante:
"Even small actions, such as the person who called saying “there is a huge group, they are blocking doors, it is really an emergency" or the protesters that entered the second floor at the opportunity of an open door with no appointed objective, can characterize the catastrophic scene of November 10th: a set of mindless actions triggered by ignorance. Just like children when they do not know yet how powerful their actions are.The most educated and informed people in this event seemed to keep calm and secure. Nonetheless, these were not the only people with power. Ignorance and power together is an unfortunate combination that had its consequences. The report goes through the most clear faults committed by all parties during this event, and recommendations address the obvious problems that this event shone light on. Under the shine of a dimmer light, focusing of what this event tells us about our University, this is not the only instance in which McGill staff and students have had important differences. Usually one side, usually the students, ends up negatively affected. I think there are a couple questions that are worth asking (and answering): Why were staff in the James Building so afraid? What does this fear tell us about the lack of communication and understanding between McGill staff and students? Principal H. Monroe-Blum: you are the single person with highest power in this University, and have promptly acted to resolve this conflict. Upon the release of this report, what actions are you going to take against the group that most mindlessly hurt your University in order to ensure that this will never happen again? Students: When will we make of our collective power, a mindful seed of change?"
- Armen Kitbalian, Student/Étudiante, Engineering/Génie:
"After careful review of the report I have confirmed what I was already suspecting. The staff of McGill and the police acted in a reasonable manner. I am once again saddened that the students acted in a way that is clearly irresponsible when faced with a change that is difficult but necessary. Canada is not Libya Canada is not Egypt! we do not need to resort to riots or attempt to intimidate staff to convey a message! What truly appalls me is that no criminal charges were given to the people who were the cause of the intervention of the riot police which caused harm to innocent bystanders. The police were faced with a hostile crowd that were acting in a manner that is against the law and were correct in dispersing them with the means they had. It's time students stoped copying other countries where occupy movements are understandable, and are arguably necessary, and started occupying reason..."
- Caroline Hollman, Student/Étudiante:
"According to the report, students and teachers on their way to evening classes were not warned of the danger, and thus were exposed to what the report called an 'irritant' (smelled like CS, which is tear gas), because McGill security thought this would attract more protesters.
(1) I don't think that risk was evaluated properly.
I ended up right in the middle of it because I get off work at 5, am usually at the library to print my assignments by 5:30, and in class at 6. There is no way any protestors could have gotten onto campus at that point with amount of force, tear gas and ruthlessness the riot squad was using.
People forcibly removed all the way to Park Avenue included:
A 70 year old woman on her way to the Royal Victoria Hospital to see her sister
A disabled student on the way to an evening class in the Leacock building
A 24 year old student on the way to the McGill gym
(2) If you are worried about the general community knowing whether the McGill campus is safe or not, then why don't you just move it to the MyMcGill secure page?
I figure if you have the security clearance to see your transcript you should have the security clearance to know whether it is safe for you to go to class.
Before leaving for class and after I got to a secure location with wireless access, I checked the following:
McGill Main Page
surely one of these would have been secure enough to warn us of the situation?
You don't even need to put details if you don't want to, simply use colours to indicate the current operational state of McGill.
No restrictions or unusual events in effect, everything functioning as normal.
Authorized personnel only
This would be for when classes, meetings and office hours are generally proceeding as normal, but you want to limit the unnecessary traffic on campus.
This could include minor flooding or electrical problems, and minor civil unrest that has not yet escalated
At this level, buildings would likely be on card access.
This would be when there is no guarantee that students and staff can access their classes, laboratories, and offices.
This could be due to major flooding or electrical, winter weather that makes traversing campus hazardous, fires, and moderate civil unrest.
Basically anything that could cause a safety threat to someone coming onto or near campus.
At this point classes may or may not proceed, some but not all McGill community members would be able to get to where they need to be.
At this point some buildings would be on card access and others on Lockdown, and while some classes would proceed students would not be penalized for absences or missed tests and assignments.
This is when there is a significant hazard, such as a major fire, an ice storm, or active violent confrontation.
Buildings would be in lockdown and classes officially cancelled.
Just one tiny little coloured dot in the top banner of the MyMcGill secure web site could have prevented hundreds of unsuspecting McGill students and professors from walking into this mess.
I could have logged on to the secure McGill site, seen that we were at code orange or code red, and gone home instead of risking my safetly trying to get to class."
- Victor Chisholm, Faculty of Science/Faculté des sciences:
"I am writing with some reactions to Dean Jutras' report. The specific part of the report that I am reacting to is the following text about recommendation 4: "... whatever the causes of the confrontation, several community members were unwittingly passing through James Square or coming to Milton Gates at a dangerous time. It is unclear whether Security Services were able to protect them from the risk of harm by securing the perimeter. Indeed, there may not have been enough agents on duty to cover such a large site. Similarly, it is unclear whether Security Services was able to provide first aid and assistance to people who were pepper-sprayed or otherwise subjected to force on campus..." (P. 48 of the report, or online at https://www.mcgill.ca/dean-jutras-report/report/recommendations)
First: the unsecured perimeter problem is not new, and has been a problem every time my building (Dawson Hall) has been evacuated due to fire alarm, false alarm, or genuine disaster (namely, fire in an adjacent building). The report by Dean Jutras suggested the porous perimeter may also have been a problem on November 10. It seems we need to do more here, given the grave and foreseeable consequences that could arise in other disaster contexts, if we aren't able to keep people out of a "hot" zone. Will steps be taken to improve the policies and procedures for establishing a perimeter around disaster areas?
Second: The concerns about the ability to dispense first aid are food for thought. I am a certified first aider (https://www.mcgill.ca/ehs/training/firstaid/certified). It is not clear to me if the various disaster/emergency management plans envisage *any* role for mobilizing certified first aiders who are not already on the scene. (That is to say, it's clear to me that if someone is injured in my building, I might be called to help; but if something happens in a different location, it isn't clear to me if there is a way that I could be mobilised if needed.) Whether or not my presence would have been helpful on November 10, one could easily imagine other disaster scenarios where it would be helpful/important to be able to mobilize first aiders (e.g., first aiders for a given building are on vacation, not at work, outside of working hours; incident takes place on McGill grounds outside of "my" building; large scale incident needing more help than is available in one building). Possible actions to take on this front could include: identify the first aiders available, develop communications tools to reach them including reporting structure for first aiders to check in, communicate plan.