Dear members of the McGill community,
I am aware of a petition circulating within the McGill community that calls upon the University to take measures in the wake of the outbreak of violence in the Middle East. The petition demands that McGill break ties with Israeli institutions and revise our policy-based definition of discrimination.
While the petition has not yet reached the McGill administration, I recognize the attention it is receiving and the impact that it is having within our community. I thus wish to underscore two points, which I believe are critical.
First, concern about the violence that has erupted in the Middle East, and consequential unrest in other parts of the world, is widely shared. Many of us – especially Palestinian and Jewish members of the campus community – are living through this difficult period with a deep sense of sadness, anger and worry. This is not easy. I urge anyone who feels they may need it to reach out for support; resources are listed below.
Second, this petition invokes McGill’s EDI Strategic Plan and Policy on Harassment and Discrimination Prohibited by Law to substantiate its calls to action. Yet the petition’s demands are in fact wholly antithetical to our commitment to equity and inclusion. They purport to draw on our commitment to equity and inclusion to call for measures that would divide our community, notably by demanding that we exclude some worldviews and ways of self-identifying from our campus. We cannot, indeed we will not, allow the misuse of our EDI-based plans and policies to sow strife at McGill. While each of us enjoys the right to hold and express our own political views, the University will not respond to calls that would threaten to undermine our obligation to uphold a safe, respectful and inclusive campus for all.
I close with an invitation to reflect on our interconnectedness, even as we remain physically distanced. We are living through a period marked by deep, protracted adversity and compounded challenges. In this context, our words and our actions stand to carry deep impact on others, often much more so than we intend or imagine. As we continue to persevere through the pandemic situation affecting all of us, I urge each of us to engage with one another with care and compassion.
- McGill Student Wellness Hub
- McGill Office of Religious and Spiritual Life
- McGill Employee and Family Assistance Program
- Office for Mediation and Reporting
Professor Christopher Manfredi
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)