Law students, faculty step up for rights following shootings, travel ban

McGill Law students are rallying and harnessing support for people affected by U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations.
Jonathan Godin and Anna Goldfinch are two volunteers in the letter writing campaign being held in the Atrium of the Law Faculty from 9 – 5 p.m. all week. / Photo: Lysanne Larose

McGill rally against hate planned for tomorrow in wake of Ste-Foy mosque shootings

By McGill Reporter Staff

McGill Law students are rallying and harnessing support for people affected by U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations. The students are volunteering at Trudeau Airport and organizing a letter campaign against the travel ban.

Dean Robert Leckey wrote to professors and students that McGill’s Faculty of Law has a long history of leadership in protecting what used to be called civil liberties and now more often are called human rights. “Limiting myself to predecessors of mine in the dean’s office, I think of Frank Scott and Maxwell Cohen. Of course, while this history is important, a tradition remains alive only so long as those in the present act on it and carry it forward. Doing so is up to us.”

Richard Gold, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) and James McGill Professor in the Faculty of Law, has written to graduate law students to assure them that the Faculty of Law supports all students, regardless of origin or faith, and that Canada will not be following the path set out by the US president.

He added, “The ban is particularly offensive to us at McGill Law as we are a global law school – perhaps, now, the global law school – that places value on diversity, equality, and freedom. I write particularly to those who are directly or indirectly affected by this ban, including those who come from the seven countries involved or from the United States.” In this spirit of openness, Gold has extended the application deadline for graduate studies for international students whose plans to study in the US are thwarted by the travel ban.

Keeping that tradition alive are students who’ve been in touch with Law professors from McGill and other law schools in Montreal to try to organize a panel on the travel ban. Students have also been taking names of people who will help if some sort of legal clinic should be created.

Students are taking shifts at the airport to provide legal resources to those needing information about the travel ban.

Other law students have organized a letter-writing campaign to MPs at a table in the Atrium of the Law Faculty being held from 9 – 5 p.m. all week. Many other students are taking shifts monitoring the table.

At the same time, McGill’s International Student Services has posted information on its website about the controversial new U.S. travel policy.

On Jan. 30, thousands of Montrealers rallied in honour of the six men murdered at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Ste-Foy, a suburb of Quebec City. Nineteen others were injured. Principal Suzanne Fortier issued a statement condemning the violence.

Dorna Zaboli, U1 at the Law Faculty says “It was heartening to see thousands of Montrealers standing together in defiant unity, all mourning the victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting. I left the vigil feeling a sense of urgency and hope that together, we can put an end to xenophobic and divisive policies.”

There were similar rallies and vigils in every major community across Canada as well as on Parliament Hill and at the US Embassy in Ottawa.

There was a minute of silence yesterday at the Faculty of Law for those murdered in the mosque in Ste-Foy, and the McGill flag was at half mast in honour of the dead.

The McGill International Students Network (MISN) is organizing a peaceful rally on campus against hate and discrimination tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the Y Intersection in the heart of campus at 16h00 until 17h30. More details about the United we stand #NoHate rally can be found on the MISN Facebook page.




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Rownak Jahan
7 years ago

Thank you all in Law Department as well as McGill University for this support. As a Muslim Immigrant, these are great support for me and also for all of us to face the fears and confusions growing up. Proud to be a McGill student.