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McGill University’s Student Body Rejects Student Government’s BDS Vote

February 27, 2016 9:39 pm 17 comments
McGill University Arts Building, in Montreal, Canada. Photo: wiki commons.

McGill University Arts Building, in Montreal, Canada. Photo: wiki commons.

The student body at Canada’s McGill University has failed to ratify Monday’s controversial Israel boycott vote by the general assembly of the student government.

According to the McGill Reporter, the online vote recorded 57 percent of students voting against the boycott motion and 43 percent voting in favor. This represents the fourth time since 2009 that the effort to persuade the student body to adopt an anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement resolution at McGill has failed.

Following the results, McGill’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier issued a statement to the McGill community, reading, in part:

The University as an institution has not commented publicly until now out of respect for the student governance process. Students respect our governance processes; we do not interfere with theirs, or their right to put such motions within the context of their affairs.

Now that the online vote is complete, I wish to explain why the University’s administration continues to steadfastly oppose the BDS movement, of which this motion is a part.

The BDS movement, which among other things, calls for universities to cut ties with Israeli universities, flies in the face of the tolerance and respect we cherish as values fundamental to a university. It proposes actions that are contrary to the principles of academic freedom, equity, inclusiveness and the exchange of views and ideas in responsible, open discourse. These are the core principles of McGill University, as affirmed by its Senate and Board, which should always guide the McGill community.

Our mission is to advance learning and create and disseminate knowledge by offering the best possible education, by carrying out research and scholarly activities judged to be excellent by the highest international standards, and by providing service to society.

For these reasons, while we respect the freedom of expression of all members of our community, the administration of the University will have no part of the BDS movement.


  • Hillel Fleishman

    In the ’60’s and ’70’s, university students had a cause to protest: the Vietnam war.
    In 2016: no great causes left to protest – Muslims murdering non-Muslims and each other right and left is not worth protesting – , so invent one: the murderous Jews are oppressing Arabs in the Land of Israel.
    In theory, students attend university in order to develop the process needed for independent thought: invest the effort required to study the reality, afterwards come to conclusions.
    It seems that 43% of McGill students – and presumably faculty – have no use for the university learning process; blindly absorbing anti-Semitic propaganda and parroting anti-Israel slogans is less demanding on the intellect than investigative study.
    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were seriously studied in the universities of Nazi Germany, and they are currently widely studied in “universities” throughout the Muslim world; how long before McGill opens a course, in response to demand by the 43%?

  • Amen for Sanity

  • Congratulations to McGill University for its maintenance of integrity while others capitulate to all manner of sloppy thinking and idiotological blindness!

  • Good news for Israel. Bad news for the haters. There is sufficient evidence that BDS is a cloak for antisemitism.

  • I am glad to see that my alma mater has not fallen into the error of backing the unfair and antisemitic BDS movement
    Uriel Priwes
    Engineering 1959

  • I commend McGill University for their stand on BDS. BDS is just a platform to hide their real agenda which is to promote antisematism and to blame Jews for all that’s wrong in today’s society world wide. It’s the big lie that they are spreading.
    It is really unfortunate that they try to use academic institutions to further their hate filled fanaticism against Israel and the Jewish people at a time when the world is in turmoil with wars going on and terrorists are on a murderous killing spree.
    Israel is a bastion of Democracy in a region that has no other, where people of all Religions and Race are free to express themselves. Muslim residents in Israel have more freedom than in most Muslim countries in the world.
    The academic institutions in Israel are world class, and the scientific advances made in Israel have benefitted people everywhere.

  • 43 percent voting in favor. Do they really understand that israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East? What in the world are they thinking?

  • Kudos to the McGill student body and administration! There is hope for college students and their institutions!

  • Good for them! It seems that there are some people who have common sense at that University!

  • Obviously Toronto is another country.

  • The vote was closer than I would have wished. It needed a rout, but thanks to the 53% of the students who voted and for the clarity of the university admin’s beliefs and their statement.

    But what is surprising is the poor choice of words I. This article which states that the student body “failed to ratify…” This sounds as though they should have and has a negative mindset. Far better would have been that the student body rejected the controversial BDS vote of the general assembly.

  • Congratulations to Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier, for standing up to the fascists! McGill University should vote on a motion to have the BDShole fascists stripped of their Canadian citizenship, and deported to Palestine!

    Paul Cerar
    Toronto, Canada

  • Well done my Alma Mater, McGill. To have supported this would have been shameful. Barry Sheehy

  • Way to go McGill!!!

  • Common sense prevails..

  • Thanks Suzanne

  • This is less about freedom of expression than a mockery of the democratic process. Why would students be allowed for months on end to amateurishly debate their right to vote on a matter that has no impact upon the school’s purchasing practices? By not immediately publishing the school’s lack of intent to abide by student opinion in this matter, the administration condoned anti-Semitism openly harming the Jewish student body and embarrassing their academic institution via student ignorance.

    Neither democracy nor political science was showcased in this debacle and the administrative statement is rather late in the game. True academic excellence shines when debate is valued through knowledgeable student discussion in departmentally sponsored events. Otherwise, we see venting of outside interests imposed upon largely disinterested students on state subsidized campuses.

    Unfortunately, after blood libel is spoken, page twelve retractions after the fact aren’t heeded. Please restore academic standards to all questions introduced to institutes of higher learning.

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