Earlier this week, students at Canada’s McGill University voted in favor of a motion to boycott Israel.
A motion put forth by McGill University students who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has failed.
Students had initially voted earlier this week in favour of the motion to boycott Israel, which was put forth by a group called the McGill BDS Action Network.
But the initial vote then had to be ratified. In the online ratification process, 57 per cent (or 2,819 people) voted against while 43 per cent (2,119 people) voted in favour.
The university had declined to comment on the vote until the ratification process was complete. In a statement published to McGill’s website, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier explained why the university’s administration “steadfastly” opposes the BDS movement
Here is what Ms Fortier said in full:
Dear members of the McGill community,
The General Assembly of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) recently passed a motion to support the Boycott, Divest and Sanction campaign against Israel. That decision has been defeated in a subsequent online ratification process.
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.
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
I don’t care what they claim – BDS is losing big time.