The Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) is disturbed by the breaking reports of the charging of a member of the McGill Redmen football team with uttering threats, armed robbery, and aggravated assault relating to an incident of domestic violence. McGill’s immediate suspension of the player reflects McGill’s willingness to suspend the assumption of innocence pending a final decision when charges are deemed adequately serious. SSMU would like to draw attention to the failure of the University to invoke these measures following the charging of three McGill football players with sexual assault last year. Following the charges of sexual assault, McGill Athletics failed to take action beyond the revision of the “McGill University Athletics and Recreation Guide” to define “Guiding Principles and Policies;” no targeted mandatory trainings on consent, sexual violence, or equity were considered. The SSMU is in the process of drafting a student-led Sexual Assault Policy for the University in which the need for proactive measures addressing sexual violence is centred.

These incidents of violence together demonstrate the ramifications of the University and McGill Athletics’ failure to take substantive, proactive measures to engage with athletes on the subject of sexual violence. The suspension is the first step towards reducing harm in the community, but the SSMU calls for meaningful proactive action now.

The SSMU encourages students needing support in response to this incident to use the following peer-run resources if needed: the Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS) support line or drop-in hours ((514) 398-8500; located in SSMU B-27), McGill Students’ Nightline (514-398-6246), and the Peer Support Network.

– The SSMU Executive

UPDATE: According to a National Post article on September 25, 2014 at 9:37pm the player, “Appeared in a Montreal court on Thursday on charges of assault and uttering threats against his estranged wife. He was released on $300 bail and a host of conditions.”

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