Protest for a Safe & Accessible McGill Campus

Protest for a Safe & Accessible McGill Campus

Protest for a Safe & Accessible McGill Campus

2021-08-30

Dear student body,

It is no secret that there are a lot of concerns held by students, staff, and faculty regarding our return back to campus this Wednesday and for the whole of the Fall semester. We are so excited to see everyone on campus, but want to ensure that we collectively remain and feel safe in our endeavours and academic learning.

We must not forget the effects that this pandemic had on each and everyone of our lives, nor the outcomes that it will have on our return to a so-called ‘normal life’.

Students and professors alike are recovering from individual difficulties. Whether it is mental illness, isolation, loss of loved ones, financial difficulties or another one of the million different obstacles that you could have faced since March 2020, students deserve to feel supported by the University. The whole student body should feel safe, listened to, and helped through whatever ambitions, goals, difficulties or personal obstacles they are facing.

Over the summer, the SSMU executives have progressively come to realize that the McGill administration has failed to be supportive of its students on many different levels. Not only has McGill failed to provide sufficient and sustainable short-term accommodations for students who live in a situation that cannot allow them to risk being exposed, but the University has entirely forgotten about students who are recovering and still suffering from the negative impacts of COVID.

Instead of McGill being an institution that is just for some students, but not others, let’s fight to make McGill what we all want it to be, and why we chose to attend: an academic institution that is supportive, inclusive, accessible, and equitable.

McGill has failed to implement COVID policies to keep students and our greater community safe. Immunocompromised students are being told that they should take a leave of absence when they ask for accommodations such as access to remote learning. International students unable to return to Canada and this time are not being given remote learning options past the add/drop period and are also being told to take a leave of absence. McGill remains one of the last major universities in Canada without a vaccine mandate, which epidemiologists recognize as a crucial measure of safety. As such, the SSMU is protesting from 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM in front of the James Administration building on the first day of classes, Wednesday, September 1st to demand the following:

  1. Accommodations (such as remote learning) for international students who are unable to return to Canada at this time.
  2. Accommodations (including remote learning or lecture recordings) for immunocompromised students or students with vulnerable loved ones.
  3. Proper support for students, appropriate for the situation at hand and the outcomes that different students are facing (such as an increase in support resources, more flexibility on deadlines, and more).
  4. A vaccine mandate that is comprehensive and equitable. As many other universities do, such a mandate would include providing proof of vaccination in order to participate in all in-person activities, and accommodations (such as frequent testing provided on multiple campus locations by the university) would be applied to students who cannot be vaccinated. The mandate would also provide for adequate time for students to begin the process of vaccination (typically a grace period of several weeks). 
  5. Student consultation in decision-making concerning COVID. We have seen that students have not been consulted regarding the university’s policies, and that needs to change.

We hope to see you at our protest to support a safe, accessible, and inclusive McGill campus! 

Distancing and masks will be required, and MSERT will be there as first responders if needed.

If you cannot stay the entire time, or even only have time to stop by, that’s okay: come and write a postcard to McGill, we’ll deliver it on your behalf!

For any accessibility concerns, feel free to email ua@ssmu.ca or external@ssmu.ca

For contact tracing purposes, if you are certain that you will come at any point, please fill out the following form: 

Signed,

Sacha Delouvrier

Vice-President (External Affairs)

Claire Downie

Vice-President (University Affairs)

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