“In order to divest McGill, we have to democratize McGill.”
- Greg Mikkelson, former tenured McGill prof who resigned over McGill’s third refusal to divest
McGill Board of Governors
The McGill Board of Governors (BoG) is the University’s highest governing body, whose mandate is “focused on ensuring the sound governance and trusteeship of the University’s assets: financial assets, property assets, and human resources.” The BoG is made up of 25 voting members: the Chancellor (ex officio), the Principal and Vice Chancellor (ex officio), 12 members at large, 3 representatives of the McGill Alumni Association, 2 representatives of Senate, 2 representatives of the academic staff, 2 representatives of the administrative and support staff, 1 representative of the Students' Society of McGill University, and 1 representative of the Post-Graduate Students' Society. Additionally there are two student non-voting positions: 1 representative of the McGill Association of Continuing Education Students and 1 representative of the Macdonald Campus Students' Society. Of the 25 voting members of the BoG, only 8 are elected (either directly or indirectly) by the McGill community. This makes the BoG a fundamentally undemocratic institution.
Fall 2021 Assembly
Divest McGill began as a campaign with three goals. The first: to get the University to drop its $50 million worth of investments in the fossil fuel industry. The second: to engage in solidarity actions with communities most affected by the fossil fuel industry’s operations, particularly Indigenous communities. And third: to educate and mobilize McGill students around ecological issues.
Our campaign has gathered the support of the undergraduate and postgraduate student unions, key staff unions, and - in 2018 - McGill’s largest body of elected representatives, the Senate, which voted for divestment. However, as each new wave of support came in, McGill’s central body of authority, the Board of Governors, kept refusing to drop McGill’s investments in the fossil fuel industry. First in 2013, again in 2016, and then in 2019.
We have reached a boiling point. We are now fighting for a democratic university: A change in the governance structure as the only way to change McGill’s relationship with the fossil fuel industry. It is also our best commitment to solidarity with people who are housed by the university, who work as staff for the university, or who are directly affected by its investments and its colonial legacy. It is solidarity, for instance, with all those affected, especially the immunocompromised, by McGill’s COVID-19 policy: developed by administrators; protested by staff and students.
We want to hear your concerns and ideas. This "hybrid" assembly, on November 19th, 2021, was one of the first steps to do just that . We invited students, professors and other staff members to participate in a public assembly to discuss our issues with the current governance structure, and imagine together what a true democratic university could look like. To read more, check out this article.
The Democratize McGill Coalition
After the first assembly, a Democratize McGill Coalition was born. Currently, the coalition is made up of members of Divest McGill, Queer McGill; Socialist Fightback at Concordia and McGill; McGill Corporate Accountability Project and the Protestors Legal Information Clinic in addition to other independent members.
Fill out this survey to let us know whether you want to endorse the coalition as a group, help us organize assemblies or join the listserv: link
Don't forget to go like the coalition's Facebook page, as we will soon release a call for logo submissions!