12 June 2020 – Statement on systemic racism
The McGill Faculty of Law Equity Committee stands in solidarity with the anti-racism protests occurring in Canada, the U.S. and internationally in the wake of the tragic murder of George Floyd. Over-policing, racial profiling and the use of fatal force against Black and Indigenous individuals are part of a long history of brutal and inequitable treatment by law enforcement officers. These violent encounters are not confined to the U.S.; pervasive Anti-Black racism and racism against Indigenous people also characterize the Canadian criminal justice system, rooted in legacies of slavery and colonialism.
Actively promoting racial equality is a critical component of advancing social justice. Now, more than ever, we must stand in solidarity with racialized communities across the world in the fight against systemic racism affecting all racialized people and injustice.
We recognize that it is not only what we say, but also what we do in these moments that ultimately contributes to dismantling structures of systemic racism. The mandate of the Committee includes working to identify systemic barriers to equality and inclusion. Although we will not be meeting this summer, we are committed to working on these issues, as always, and to focus on them during the upcoming academic year. We welcome suggestions and concrete ideas for how we can work together to address systemic racism in the legal system, in legal education, and in society at large. We can be reached at equity.law [at] mcgill.ca.
We sincerely hope that a new collective conscience will emerge out of the current turmoil. Let us stand together and continue to foster racial equity in our daily lives.
31 March 2020 – Statement regarding COVID-19 and discrimination
The McGill Law Equity Committee recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered fear and uncertainty for students, Faculty, and staff who are concerned about themselves and their loved ones.
In particular, people of Asian descent around the world have been experiencing growing subtle and overt racism through both verbal and physical attacks as the pandemic has spread. Hate crimes, xenophobia and a wave of anti-Asian discrimination have been particularly apparent in recent weeks. Even casual racism, in the form of backhanded comments and suspicious stares, has unfairly targeted individuals and students of Asian descent. The Committee vehemently condemns these appalling and unjustifiable acts.
Students from Asian ethnic backgrounds are an integral part of the McGill Community. We ask for the support of all students, Faculty, and staff at the University to take a strong, public stance against these racist acts in this critical moment. Please choose to be active in combating discriminatory behavior. If you see someone who is being treated unjustly because of a fundamental part of their identity, please do not be passive bystanders. Instead, please speak out in support of your colleagues and classmates. Let us not socially distance ourselves from standing up for those subjected to racial scapegoating and from speaking truth in the face of fear.
The Committee would also like to invite students at the Faculty of Law to reflect on how we as future jurists can respond to acts and instances of discrimination, especially in these trying times. If you have any ideas and suggestions, please reach out to us at equity.law [at] mcgill.ca.
We must respect, support, and take care of each other. We are stronger together; and together is how we will get through this (originally published in Quid Novi, vol. 41, no. 17, p. 13).
Our commitment to equity
At the McGill Faculty of Law, we are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. We believe that it is essential to our excellence as an institution that our community reflect the diversity of the society our students will serve as jurists after they graduate. Our efforts to meet this commitment evolve as we identify new issues and ideas for advancing equality.
The McGill Law Equity Committee
The Equity Committee is composed of members from faculty, staff and students in the BCL/JD and graduate programs at the Faculty of Law.
Its mandate is to advance equity, diversity and an inclusive learning environment for all students at the Faculty, particularly those from groups that have historically encountered or continue to face systemic barriers.
To advance its mandate, the Equity Committee:
- liaises with student organizations and individual students regarding equity issues and concerns;
- works to identify systemic barriers to equity and inclusion;
- works to identify institutional solutions to advance diversity and inclusion;
- liaises with Faculty committees on issues related to equity, inclusion and diversity; and
- promotes diversity at the Faculty in curricular and extracurricular activities.
Student & community engagement
Our students are drivers of change, highly involved in their communities and committed to promoting social justice and equality. Through student groups and associations, they help advance equity and diversity both within and beyond the walls of the Faculty. Below are some active students groups, faculty initiatives, and community resources that are tied to equity and diversity both here and on campus.
McGill Law student groups
- Black Law Students Association of McGill
- Contours: Voices of Women in Law
- Healthy Legal Minds
- Human Rights Working Group
- Indigenous Law Association
- Jewish Law Students’ Association
- Law Needs Feminism Because
- McGill Radical Law Student Collective
- Muslim Law Students’ Association
- Outlaw at McGill
- Women of Colour Collective
- East Asian Law Students Society
- Latin American Student Association
For more information on student governance and activities, see the Law Students Association website https://www.lsa-aed.ca/
Community engagement for social justice
- The McGill Faculty of Law Admissions Office strives to attract a diverse and talented pool of applicants to the program through various outreach, recruitment and admissions initiatives.
- The Faculty’s Student Affairs Office offers a range of student support resources and advising services, as well as workshops on student wellness. Students can book appointments with the two Student Wellness Advisors assigned to the Faculty.
- We have a number of initiatives to support Indigenous students at the Faculty, and as well as Indigenous applicants.
- The Faculty and McGill offer scholarships and financial support. Our belief is that no person who meets our standards of excellence should ever have to select out of studying at McGill Law for financial reasons. The Faculty strives to break down barriers and broaden access to legal education. Bursaries play a pivotal role in allowing for equal opportunity among candidates of all backgrounds. For more, see our Tuition and Financial Support page.
- The Career Development Office oversees a mentorship program that pairs students with alumni working in a wide range of practice areas and settings (from “traditional” legal careers, to public service and advocacy). This individualized support helps our students build their careers and connect them with diverse opportunities.
- Professor Angela Campbell, McGill’s Associate Provost (Equity and Academic Policies), is responsible for academic policies and procedures, as well as the oversight of all equity matters.
- The Office of Students with Disabilities provide accommodations to students in need.
- McGill University’s Human Resources has an Employment Equity group.
- The Joint Board-Senate Committee on Equity (JBSCE) recommends policies that strive to promote fair access to academic and employment opportunities at the Univresity
- The Branches Program at McGill is committed to being a reliable partner in co-creating responsive and sustained relationships with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis youth, families, schools and organizations.
- The Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education (OSVRSE) provides confidential, non-judgmental and non-directional support to those who have been impacted by sexual or gender-based violence.
- The McGill Sustainable Events program is an initiative from the Office of Sustainability that provides consultations, trainings, resources, and certification to encourage and support more responsible events at McGill.