A running back for the McGill Redmen football team identified as Luis-Andres Guimont-Mota was arrested Wednesday on charges of assault and armed robbery. In response to the incident, Ollivier Dyens, deputy provost (Student Life and Learning) issued a statement explaining that Guimont-Mota had been suspended from the football team. Guimont-Mota was arraigned in court on Thursday and subsequently released on bail.
“The Office of the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) will actively investigate the matter,” Dyens’ statement reads. “In line with the values and policies of McGill University, we will take any and all measures that are deemed to be appropriate.”
The athlete was arrested on Wednesday after the police received a call by Guimont-Mota’s wife claiming he had assaulted her in a case of domestic violence, the Montreal Gazette reported. The details of the hearing this afternoon were not released, though Guimont-Mota’s lawyer was quoted saying his client was a victim of assault.
Guimont-Mota had also been convicted of assault in Quebec City in 2010, according to The Globe and Mail. In 2013, he was permitted to serve a 90-day sentence for the charge on an intermittent basis, so that it would not affect his schedule during the football season.
The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) published a statement on Thursday that applauded McGill’s prompt suspension of Guimont-Mota. It also called for further action from McGill and McGill Athletics regarding issues of sexual assault and gendered violence, referencing a 2011 case, where three McGill football players were charged with sexual assault on a Concordia University student.
“These incidents of violence together demonstrate the ramifications of the university and McGill Athletics’ failure to take substantive, proactive measures to engage with athletes on the subject of sexual violence,” the release reads. “The suspension is the first step towards reducing harm in the community, but the SSMU calls for meaningful proactive action now.”
SSMU VP University Affairs Claire Stewart-Kanigan elaborated on the measures she believes McGill Athletics should enact.
“The Athletic Department should take on mandatory training for consent and gender violence for all McGill Athletes,” she said. “This is something that’s done for student leaders across campus [….] Students in residences get training on consent and equity. [This year] all frosh leaders, frosh coordinators, and orientation staff […] got consent training and equity training. Why has athletics been excluded?”
At the university senate’s first meeting of the year, Dyens said that McGill would not specifically target athletes, with regards to consent training, as it would unfairly target a specific subgroup of the university community.
“My position is that we’re not going to target one group of students for these kinds of things,” Dyens said at Senate. “We want to promote this to all McGill students [….] This being said […] we have asked the varsity council to meet with our harm reduction councillor to develop policies with [athletes] and develop training with them.”
According to Stewart-Kanigan, however, a more proactive approach is required.
“I’m hoping that this serves as yet another wake up call to the McGill administration, as well as officials running the athletics department, that sexual assault and violence is an ongoing problem on our campus right now.” she said. “It’s the responsibility of [McGill] Athletics to make sure that there are measures being taken to put those guidelines and policies into action. You need to change the way that [McGill Athletics] is making sure that [the values] are upheld.”
Redmen quarterback Dallon Kuprowski explained that McGill Athletics had discussed the student-athlete code of conduct last spring in a council that consisted of volunteers from McGill’s Varsity Council.
“[The council] reviewed the student athletics code of conduct to make sure that [we understood] everything in there as athletes and what expectations [McGill] has for us.” he said. “I only found out about [the incident] this morning and haven’t even had time to process it. At this point in time […] as far as the football program stands […] our goals remain the same: To be successful students and successful student athletes.”