Principal Fortier is the Hero McGill University Needed
On February 13th, the board of directors of the Student’s Society of McGill University (SSMU) rejected a motion that would have removed Arts Undergraduate Society representative Igor Sadikov from the board. This was in response to a tweet that Sadikov had sent out on February 6th, which encouraged people to “punch a Zionist”. While Zionism can be seen as a contentious issue, it is not the political connotations regarding Zionism that should have been questioned. What should have been the focus of the situation was that an elected representative of the McGill University student body incited violence towards some of the very members he represents.
At the February 13th meeting, representative Jasmine Segal came under fire for simply stating that Sadikov’s tweet was hateful. Supporters of Sadikov were present in the gallery at the time of this meeting, and had the audacity to call for the removal of Segal based purely on her support for Zionism. Simultaneously, none of the Executive members of SSMU had the courage to condemn the comments being made towards Segal.
At this point it was clear that SSMU had failed Jasmine Segal, failed Zionists, and failed the McGill student body. McGill University became the laughing stock of Canada, as it managed to garner enough attention that satirical news source The Beaverton published an article on the situation. Luckily for McGill students, McGill University Principal Suzanne Fortier had the courage to stand up to SSMU. Reports indicate that Fortier had informed the Executive members of SSMU, that if they did not recommend the resignation of Sadikov, she would issue a public statement condemning SSMU’s inaction and would consider taking legal action against them, resulting in a loss of funding.
Yesterday, February 17th, hours after meeting with Fortier, days after the vote not to remove Sadikov from the board, and weeks after the initial tweet, SSMU issued a statement recommending the resignation of Igor Sadikov. This was a complete 180 degree turn from SSMU’s initial actions, and a recognition that they did not condone the incitement of violence perpetuated in the original tweet.
Let’s be clear, this is not a case of SSMU coming to the sudden realization that student representatives should not be inciting violence. This was the case of Principal Suzanne Fortier handing them an ultimatum. No matter what one’s personal political inclinations are, inciting and normalizing violence is never the answer, and should always be condemned. SSMU failed to do so when they moved not to impeach Sadikov. Fortunately for the McGill student body, Principal Fortier saw that SSMU was failing to condemn hate and violence, and took matters into her own hands, and for that McGill students should be thankful.
The Prince Arthur Herald
Photo Credit: Twitter, @JewishStudents