Toronto (March 24, 2022) – In response to concerns raised by Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC), McGill University has denounced an anti-Israel policy recently adopted by the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) and is taking action to hold the student union accountable.
Yesterday morning, FSWC sent a letter to Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier calling on the administration to step in and address the SSMU’s decision to hold a referendum to adopt an anti-Israel “Palestine Solidarity Policy” – which contains blatant disinformation about the State of Israel and its Jewish people – despite the fact that the student union’s Judicial Board issued an interim order for the referendum question to be removed from the ballot.
In an email response later that day, Principal Fortier affirmed that the student union’s adopted policy is “inconsistent with the SSMU constitution as well as previous decisions by its internal governance bodies” and stated the administration has “advised [SSMU leadership] to take prompt and appropriate remedial action consistent with SSMU’s obligations under its Memorandum of Agreement with the University, failing which the University will take action.”
She further stated, “The current initiative by SSMU will lead to polarization that fosters a culture of ostracization and disrespect on the basis of students’ identity, religious or political beliefs” and “the McGill administration will also take all necessary measures to ensure that our students continue to feel safe and free of harassment, including holding SSMU accountable to the principles and values of its own constitution.”
FSWC commends Principal Fortier and McGill University for maintaining their commitment to reject divisive and discriminatory actions by the SSMU.
“We are relieved that the McGill University administration is taking this issue seriously, and we await expectantly the news that the SSMU will be cancelling its illegitimate anti-Israel policy,” said Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, FSWC’s Director of Policy. “The State of Israel has remained the only nation to be targeted with such defamatory declarations and obscenely biased campaigns by student unions and groups, ultimately creating a toxic environment for Jewish students and staff – the majority of whom support Israel. Such divisive and discriminatory policies have no place on university campuses, and administrations have an obligation to uphold their commitments to providing an inclusive and respectful campus environment for all.”