McGill College removes contentious statue of founder James McGill from downtown campus – Montreal |

2021-07-10 06:09:11

McGill College quietly eliminated the statue of founder James McGill from its downtown Montreal campus late Friday afternoon.

In an e mail to the McGill group, principal and vice-chancellor Suzanne Fortier cited essential restore work for the statue’s elimination, following an incident of vandalism over the weekend.

“Provided that the latest incident exacerbated present harm to the sculpture, it has been eliminated for restore and restoration,” Fortier wrote.

The statue had been a difficulty of rising rivalry on campus with college students calling for its elimination throughout a protest final summer time, as a consequence of McGill’s legacy as an proprietor of Black and Indigenous slaves.

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On the time, some college students informed International Information the sculpture was a hurtful reminder.

“It hurts,” stated Emma S., an Indigenous biochemistry pupil. “James McGill’s legacy, his wealth, was constructed on Black and Indigenous individuals and McGill College refuses to acknowledge that may be a continuation of this legacy.”

In her e mail, Fortier acknowledged the founder’s sophisticated historical past.

“We all know that James McGill’s private historical past included totally different dimensions, some constructive, others not so,” she stated.

“It contains the bequest that made the College’s institution potential. It additionally contains his possession of enslaved individuals.”

Learn extra:
McGill College alumni, college students come collectively take away James McGill statue, combat inequality

She additionally stated the college had since taken steps to handle the difficulty and publicly acknowledge these points of McGill’s life.

She pointed to a not too long ago amended biography of James McGill on the college’s web site and a brand new plaque put in subsequent to the sculpture, as examples of the college’s efforts to supply extra context.

Whereas Fortier, acknowledged that individuals have a proper to precise their opinion, she lamented that it resulted in harm to school property.

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The sculpture’s destiny, as soon as repaired, has but to be determined.

“As a part of its Motion Plan to Handle Anti-Black Racism, the College is dedicated to exploring its historic document. This investigation will inform our resolution about whether or not to maintain the sculpture at its present web site or relocate it,” Fortier stated.

“Whether it is decided that the sculpture can be higher positioned elsewhere than on decrease campus, the College will act accordingly.”

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