Today, students voted overwhelmingly to change the Redmen name. Today, SSMU members stood behind Indigenous students on campus who have called on McGill to address their feelings of anxiety, discomfort, and isolation on campus. Today, we as a student body, stood for the values of respect and inclusivity on campus.
We are elated by the results of the referendum on the ‘Redmen’ name. The results are nearly 80% in favour of changing the name.
This vote demonstrates that our student body values the lived experiences of Indigenous students, and is willing to work towards the creation of a safe and respectful school environment. By voting ‘Yes’ to changing the Redmen name, we as a student body, have demonstrated leadership by beginning to address and tackle our collective obligation to reconciliation. Further, this vote to change the Redmen name demonstrates our commitment as a student community to the values our administration fails to demonstrate.
Indigenous voices have clearly expressed the desire to change the Redmen name, which should have been enough for McGill to take substantive action in changing the name. But it wasn’t. By adding our voices in solidarity we hope the University finally takes concrete action in listening to Indigenous students. McGill must take concrete steps in listening to Indigenous students.
Tomorrow, and every day after it, we, as SSMU members, will continue to take every step necessary until McGill acknowledges the damage that the Redmen name has done, and addresses those damages by, first of all, changing it. This vote is not the end of our campaign. This vote is simply a means to an end. This vote is only the beginning.
The SSMU embraces this mandate to actively put pressure on the administration and encourages you all to keep standing by indigenous students. Continue standing in solidarity with our movement by signing the open letter, signing the petition, and by respecting the action that Indigenous students will need to take if McGill continues to stay silent, and by continuing to support indigenous students until this oppressive and racist behaviour ends.
Today, students committed to changing McGill history.
Tomas Jirousek, Kainai, SSMU Indigenous Affairs Commissioner, Indigenous Varsity Athlete
Sophia Esterle, Vice-President (Student Life)
Jacob Shapiro, Vice-President (University Affairs)
Matthew McLaughlin, Vice-President (Internal Affairs)
Jun Wang, (Finance)
Tre Mansdoerfer, President