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February 27, 2016 9:39 pm

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

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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.

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