On March 27, a banner was hung from the Leacock building that read “Change the Name Redmen,” About 40 students were present outside the building when it was hung, but the organizers of this act of protest remain unknown. The sign was up for about 15 minutes before it was taken down by security.
“We don’t really know who actually organized this but we’re waiting on a decision and we’re trying to hold Suzanne Fortier to an April deadline for the name change,” one student told the B&B. “Hopefully she’ll see this and get in it.”
Student dissent against the current name, which has been linked to racial discrimination, culminated into an organized protest outside the Milton Gates back in October. This is the first protest of this kind since passing the Motion Regarding Renaming of McGill’s Men’s Varsity Teams passed in the fall semester.
Although a decision on the name change was meant to be passed in January of this year, McGill’s administration has postponed the decision process until the end of this semester. In an email sent out by McGill’s Principal and Vice Chancellor Suzanne Fortier, she explained that she has “received a high volume of messages from people, both within and beyond the McGill community, expressing their opinions about the Redmen name…” with “different and indeed opposite views.” This protest reiterates the views of the 80% of the student body that voted in favour of changing the name to one that does not alienate a racialized segment of the student body.
Jennifer Chan, the VP External of the Political Science Students’ Association explained to the Bull and Bear back in October one of the main speculated reasons that McGill administration has not yet changed the name. She stated that it is possible that McGill wishes for continued financial support from alumni, and believes that certain alum will stop donating to the school if the team name that they had while they attended McGill gets changed.
“I believe,” continues Fortier in the email, “that it is important for me to read, understand and reflect upon all the comments and points of view that have been expressed, and give them the level of consideration and respect with which they were shared.”
Another student present outside Leacock explained their irritation with McGill’s administration to the B&B. “It’s frustrating that [Fortier] is waiting until April to make the decision, and it seems really deliberate because many people won’t be here to protest. I think the general hope from the administration is that this movement will die off by next fall. But the reality is that it won’t and people will keep protesting this until something is changed… [Fortier] has to make a legitimate decision.”