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Eric W. Mauser

Breaking News: McGill occupation ended

According to reports from both the occupiers and McGill's administration, the occupation of the James Administration building ended at 9 am this morning when the Montreal Police department forced the occupiers to leave. The early morning eviction by the police marked the end of a five day protest by students over the administration's refusal to recognize the results of a student referendum. “We did not feel that it was fair to the people who work in the building or who work on the security team to keep the building open,” said Michael Di Grappa, Vice Principal of Administration and Finances at McGill, explaining the decision to use the police to remove the demonstrators in an email to students and staff. “Recent events have made many people in James very nervous about their work space being taken over unexpectedly and without their consent. We felt that the presence of occupiers could also attract further demonstrations in front of the James Building, as it has this past week, and possibly preventing staff, students and professors from entering or leaving the building, as has happened with recent demonstrations,” he continued.Di Grappa said the police followed what he called “standard procedure” in removing the demonstrators from the building. According to both sides, the end of the occupation was mostly peaceful, and the administration claims to have provided first aid, counseling, and food to those who took part in the occupation, though the occupiers have disputed some of the administrations claims. “We will prepare a longer statement after we have a warm meal,” the occupiers said from their blog, “but we do want to respond quickly to DiGrappa’s [statement]; we were not offered food or counselling services. Our friends [protesting near the building] however, have arranged for both.”McGill's Principal Heather Munroe-Blum endorsed the removal of the protesters from the administration… Read More

MUNACA Protests at McGill…Again?

On Thursday March 8th the Student Society of McGill University election period officially begun. Members of SSMU, which includes the entire undergraduate population of McGill, can vote for candidates for next years executive board, other positions including faculty senators, and referenda. This semester’s election has shaped up to be a very contentious with the backdrop of recent turmoil on campus. In response to some of the more politically left leaning student activism going on concerning these issues, a group of moderate students has converged to counter what they see as campus radicalism. The group, which calls itself the Moderate Politcal Action Committee or ModPAC has made endorsements for candidates in the SSMU elections. They described the candidates they endorsed as “work[ing] to make the SSMU a more representative, democratic students’ society  ...promot[ing] collaboration, not conflict, between students and McGill administration… and dedicated to transforming the SSMU into a forum of open discourse for McGill students to have their say.”  The ModPAC has thus endorsed Josh Redel for president because of his moderate political stance and open letter in opposition about the McGill occupation where he described the occupiers as alienating the student body. Katie Larson was endorsed for Vice President Internal because of her similar calls for civil discourse on campus and speaking openly against the occupation of the James administration Building at SSMU council. For the position of VP University affairs ModPAC endorsed Haley Dinel for her for her strong working relationship with the administration and her ability to get them to hear students’ concerns. In the contest for VP Operations and Fiance, ModPAC sa JP Briggs as the strongest candidate because of his experience the professionalism which he will bring to the job. ModPAC made no endorsements for the remaining positions of Vice President External and Vice President Clubs and Services, as none of the candidates for… Read More

Students Occupy McGill Administration Building

The sixth floor of the James Administration building at McGill has now been “occupied" by students for over forty-eight hours continuously.Around midday Tuesday, several students entered the administration building causing many administrators and staff to be relocated to other buildings on campus or to work from home, according to the administration.Occupiers have made public their protest and it's purpose through statements released over the internet.“We write from the office of Morton J. Mendelson — former Deputy Provost, Student Life & Learning at McGill University,” the occupiers posted on the satirical Milton Avenue Revolutionary Press blog.“We decided to throw a surprise resignation party to wish him the best of luck in all future endeavors.”Occupying students posted an accompanying list of demands to be met for them to cease their occupation of the building including, “1) The Administration recognizes the overwhelmingly clear results of the SSMU referenda, giving CKUT & QPIRG control over their own opt-out processes and continued existence. 2) Deputy Provost Mendelson formally resigns.”Students selectively occupied the office of the Deputy Provost for Student Life and Learning, Morton Mendelson. The Provost was targeted because earlier in the semester, Mendelson overruled a student referendum which would have made it more difficult for students to opt-out of fees given to QPIRG, and organization that uses its money to support controversial causes, and CKUT, the campus radio station.This same referendum was challenged by former student union president Zack Newburgh and Herald founder Brendan Steven at the student run judicial board Monday night, citing irregularities in the election and the referendum questions.Students were alerted to the protest by emails sent out by the administration.“Please be aware that a group of about 20 students are occupying the office of the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) on the 6th floor of the James Administration Building… Read More

Herald Interview with CKUT

This week, McGill students will go to the polls to vote on a range of issues and candidates. One of these issues is the opt-out system for the campus radio station, CKUT.McGill has certain fees levied by referendum vote from which students can choose to “opt-out.” At present, opt-outs are done online by students simply checking the boxes of fees for which they would like a refund. Critics of this system, which include the organizations that benefit from the fees, charge that this is an easy way for students to decide to simply save money without truly knowing what they are opting out of or how that impacts services and the campus. CKUT, one of the organizations which has a fee that is presently opt-outable, wants to change the way its opt-out works. The radio station would prefer to make it's fee non-refundable online, and instead require students to come to its offices to ask for a refund. This, many reason, would make certain that students understood the impact of their decision to ask for a refund of the fee. CKUT attempted to do this in a ballot question in the fall only to have it partially invalidated by the administration and McGill's Judicial Board for combining two questions into one yes or no referendum question. The first referendum was accepted as a renewal of CKUT's right to exist as a student group, and a new referendum held this week will determine the nature of their student fee opt-out system. The Herald sat down with Niko Block, a member of the CKUT Board of Directors who is campaigning for students to approve CKUT's initiative, to discuss CKUT, the current referendum, and campus politics in general. Prince Arthur Herald: What specifically have you changed from the old referendum, which was partially invalidated, to the new referendum?CKUT:… Read More

McGill Faculty of Arts students vote on tuition strike

The McGill Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), which represents over 7,000 students in the faculty of Arts, voted non-bindingly on 31 January to form a committee to explore the possibility of a strike over proposed increases in tuition in Quebec, beginning in 2012.Student in universities across the province have taken similar measures, and have taken part in protests. The most notable of these protests occurred on 10 November 2011 when riot police were called to McGill's campus.The general assembly, which was set to begin at 6 p.m., did not begin until 6:50 p.m. because not enough voting members were present to reach the AUS quorum of 150.Once enough members did arrive, a very animated debate began between those for the AUS setting up a strike committee, and those against it.The proposal for the strike committee, put forward by AUS members Jaime MacLean, Chris Bangs, and Molly Swain, sought to create a group of students to discuss a possible strike, inform students about the strike, and send emails to all Arts students via the AUS email list to inform students of the effects of tuition hikes.This was attacked by many voters present for being biased towards a strike, rather than exploring the possibility of home. The resolution stated that the strike committee would act in “Opposition to all tuition hikes and to the privatization of post-secondary education” and “Support for a general strike in opposition to the Quebec government’s planned tuition hike.”“The way that this resolution is set up right now is forcing the AUS to push very strongly for one particular position. There is no debate, there is no public opposition … and calling the strike committee a forum is not correct,” Harmon Moon, an AUS student, said to the assembly in criticism of the proposal.“They [the creators of the petition]… Read More
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