Dear Members of the McGill community,
As Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), I am proud of our open, welcoming campus community. I also take great pride in McGill’s steadfast commitment to embracing and celebrating diversity. From my engagement with so many of you, I know that this pride is widely shared across our campuses.
Last week, Bill 21, An act respecting the laicity of the State, was introduced in the National Assembly. While the Bill is not yet law, if adopted in its current form it would prohibit persons in certain positions of authority (e.g., school teachers, judges, government lawyers) from wearing religious symbols when they carry out their work duties. It also would require persons to have their faces uncovered, for the purposes of identification or security, when delivering or accessing certain public services.
As currently drafted, Bill 21 will not lead to any changes in our University’s policies or practices. The University administration will monitor the progress of Bill 21 through the National Assembly. Should our understanding of its impact on the University change, we will advise the community and explore what steps are available to the University to mitigate the impact of Bill 21.
While McGill accepts the principles of secularism and religious neutrality underlying the Bill, it does not support legislative developments that could restrict educational opportunities for our students or the professional opportunities of our graduates. We affirm our ongoing commitment to McGill’s core principles, which include equity and inclusiveness.
Professor Christopher P. Manfredi
Provost & Vice-Principal (Academic)