Today, Wednesday April 4th, at 11am, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) sent an open letter to the McGill Administration calling for an external investigation to be launched into the Office of the Dean of Arts’ handling of complaints against faculty members. This letter was written after our frustrations this year working with administration on dealing with issues of violence, and specifically violence perpetrated by members of Faculty. At the time that it was sent, it had the public support of 15 student unions, 12 student groups, and over 400 individual signatures of students, with more constantly being added.
The letter specifically names 5 departments in the faculty of Arts where professors’ predatory behaviours are open secrets : History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and World, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies (WIMES).
A press conference will be held tomorrow morning for members of the media and students who have questions about the open letter and the experiences of student representatives working with McGill administration on issues of violence this year. https://www.facebook.com/events/203807287017770/?notif_t=plan_edited¬if_id=1522862318650727
We understand that the Faculty of Arts is not the only Faculty that has a problem with professors who abuse their power, and we hope that an external investigation into the Faculty will set a precedent so that in the future, McGill will act when they become aware of departmental issues, and that above all, they will begin to prioritize the safety of their students before the legal liability or reputation of the institution. In light of what happened at Concordia this year, as well as recent societal movements to hold people in powerful positions accountable for their abuses, we ask that the university take a proactive rather than reactive stance on these issues and launch an investigation into the handling of complaints against faculty from within these departments and others in the Faculty of Arts in order to identify the problems within the current complaint systems.
Link to the Open Letter : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c8bRJn8ugXX8RWSb8LFnEroa8Rpb9_7dWxWxj2gtIKk/edit?usp=sharing
Connor Spencer, Vice President (External Affairs)
Jemark Earle, Vice President (Student Life)
Maya Koparkar, Vice President (Internal Affairs)
Isabelle Oke, Vice President (University Affairs)
Muna Tojiboeva, President
Esteban Herpin, Vice President (Finance)