October 31, 2017
I would like to update you on the progress made with respect to the actions I outlined last week to address disturbing allegations of anti-Semitism surrounding votes taken at the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) General Assembly on October 23.
I have appointed retired Professor of Education and former Ombudsperson for Students, Dr. Spencer Boudreau, to conduct an investigation into the events of October 23.
I believe it advisable to appoint someone to lead this investigation who is familiar with the McGill context. As a former Ombudsperson, Dr. Boudreau is also accustomed to working in a role that requires impartiality and independence.
I have asked him to undertake immediately a thorough identification and examination of the facts of the events of the SSMU General Assembly, for the purpose of determining whether those facts substantiate the allegations of anti-Semitism. He may also examine the facts of any antecedent events which may bear on the October 23 vote. I have asked him to report back to me by Friday, December 15, 2017, with his findings and recommendations, which will later be made public.
I urge all members of our community to offer Dr. Boudreau their full co-operation and support in this task, and I thank him for taking it on.
In addition, we are in the process of establishing The Principal’s Task Force on Respect and Inclusion in Campus Life, which will examine more broadly questions that have arisen concerning matters of respect and tolerance within our community. Its specific composition and terms of reference will be communicated to you shortly.
We are working to establish quickly a Support Telephone Line and website that will provide support for students, staff and faculty who have experienced exclusion or discrimination, as well as information about how to report such incidents. Details will be provided in the coming days.
I am confident that together we will address these issues with mutual respect, honesty and tolerance for differing views, committed to ensuring that all members of our community feel safe and welcome. I thank you all in advance for your contributions to this important effort.
Principal and Vice-Chancellor