Statement from the President

On March 26 the McMaster Students Union held its 2014 General Assembly meeting, which included a motion that the student body endorse the “Boycott Divestment Sanctions” (BDS) campaign. Any MSU member has the right to submit a topic for discussion and the University respects both the autonomy of the MSU and the right of students to engage in such debate and discussion.

Over the last few days the University has received allegations of harassment, as well as complaints of intimidating and disrespectful behaviour, directed against students on both sides of the BDS issue. The University’s commitment to a safe and inclusive environment, free from discrimination and harassment, is absolute. Disrespectful, abusive or intimidating behaviour in any form has no place on our campus.

The University must be a place where respectful debate and discussion can flourish, even when the topics under discussion are difficult or sensitive. All members of our community are reminded of their obligations under the University’s Anti-Discrimination Policy and Codes of Conduct and of the shared responsibility that we all bear, as members of the academy, to uphold the core principles of academic freedom, collegiality, and respect that are fundamental to McMaster.

Patrick Deane
President and Vice-Chancellor
April 4, 2014