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MAUT releases report on implications of Nov. 10

The McGill Association of University Teachers (MAUT) released to the public its report “Governance, Protest and Security: Report of the MAUT Committee to Examine the Implications of the Events of Nov. 10, 2011″ on March 22.

MAUT is an organization of academic staff that aims to foster academic freedom, to involve the faculty in university activities and governance, and to improve the working conditions of teaching faculty and librarians.  Its website notes that MAUT is not a union.

The MAUT report is the third to address the implications of Nov. 10 on the McGill community. These include the Jutras investigation, commissioned by Principal Heather Munroe-Blum to Dean of Law Daniel Jutras, and a report authored by an Independent Student Inquiry (ISI) resulting from some students’ concerns with the objectivity of Jutras’ internal investigation.

“The MAUT report was a sincere attempt to respond to the call for consultation and input that was made by Dean Jutras’ report, as well as by other sectors of the university including McGill’s administration,” Daniel Cere, member of the report committee and assistant professor at the faculty of religious studies, said.

MAUT president and anthropology professor John Galaty explained that in scope, the MAUT report was broader than that of the Jutras investigation.

“The MAUT report differs from the Jutras report as it broadens its purview to include the ‘context’ which led up to the events of 10th November, and it did not try to recapitulate Jutras’ very thorough review of the course of events on [Nov. 10],” Galaty said. “Also, it included many specific recommendations to consider on university governance and the development of McGill’s security policy.”

The MAUT report consists of several detailed recommendations which take into account scholarly research on protest, student protest, and security issues. Its first section, on governance and collegiality, notes the initiatives of the 1960s Tripartite Commission on the Nature of the University, and suggests the creation of a “citizen’s council” as an independent forum for discussion of issues that affect all sectors of the university.

The second section, on civil protest and peaceful assembly, outlines twelve specific recommendations on what a protocol concerning these issues should aim to do, emphasizing that a protocol should “safe-guard basic human rights to peaceful assembly and protest, not to constrain them.” The recommendations include proposals to recognize that “individuals at most risk of harm in civic protest will be protestors,” and to consider the legitimacy of occupations or sit-ins as legitimate forms of protest, among others.

The third section, on security and policing, proposes the creation of an independent university civilian oversight board on policing and security that reports to Senate. The  report suggests that this board be part of the proposed working relationship between the McGill administration and the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). The report also states that “the establishment of good communication and collaboration with the SPVM should neither preclude nor prevent consideration of whether a formal complaint should be filed regarding police intervention on Nov.10th.”

In addition to members of the faculty, the MAUT report committee included two student representatives and the presidents of the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA) and the McGill University Non-Academic Staff Association (MUNASA).

According to a letter from Galaty to the university community, MAUT sent copies of the Report to the Principal, the Provost, the Secretary-General, and to MAUT Council two weeks ago, and now aims to circulate the report throughout the university.

The MAUT report committee originally intended for the report to be discussed at Senate on March 21. Galaty noted that, although the report was brought up in Senate Steering Committee, “it was said that Senate could not consider reports that were requisitioned outside of Senate.”

“What’s most frustrating is that we didn’t even get to discuss the MAUT report at Senate, and of course, we didn’t get to present the ISI report at Senate either,” Allison Cooper, SSMU representative to the report committee and ISI co-author, said. “[There’s a] feeling that some [reports] are seen as more legitimate, or are more acknowledged by the administration, than others.”

 

-The MAUT report is available online at http://maut.mcgill.ca 

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