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Three days in to the “surprise resignation party” in the office of Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson, 11 students remain on the sixth floor.
On Thursday morning, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) Michael Di Grappa announced in a mass email to students and staff that the James building would remain closed for the day. The building was closed on Wednesday as well.
In a statement released by the students on the sixth floor on Thursday afternoon, the group stated that they had not been in contact with Mendelson in 48 hours.
“Hence we are pleased to announce Morton J. Mendelson’s resignation from the position of Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) of McGill University. One of two demands of the sixth-floor partiers has been met,” the statement read.
The students on the sixth floor have demanded since the start of their action for the resignation of Mendelson and the validation of the results from the fall 2011 QPIRG and CKUT existence referenda.
The last round of negotiations between students and McGill took place Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with Associate Vice-Principal (University Services) Jim Nicell. The negotiations – in which no progress was made between Nicell and students – concluded when the students’ negotiating team refused to leave the designated negotiating room on the sixth floor. Students are now occupying the room, which allows them access to a window.
Students and faculty have attempted to deliver food to the students on the sixth floor since last night, when reports were released stating that food supplies were dwindling.
At 1:15 p.m. on Thursday, a group of six professors asked security agents stationed around the building to permit them to deliver food to students on the sixth floor.
“We went up to the front door and we identified ourselves as professors and we said that we were concerned about the students not having had food,” said East Asian Studies Professor Adrienne Hurley.
Associate Professor of Islamic Studies Michelle Hartman, who participated in the effort, said that professors were told, “The building was closed and that no one was allowed to go in or bring anything in… We tried to figure out what regulation or what kind of policy led to the whole building being closed.”
Hartman said professors were told to get in touch with Provost Anthony Masi for an explanation regarding the closure of the building.
“We thought it was a cruel response to deny people access to food,” she added.
Around 2:30 p.m. oranges were successfully thrown to students on the sixth floor by a group of students and staff, who have gathered outside the window on the building’s east side.
Two students slept outside by the building’s east side Wednesday night.
Student Patricia Lahoud, who was outside the building and participated in the occupation of the James lobby on Tuesday night, said that students are “trying to find out different ways to get food to them.”
“There are a few plans in action,” she added, but would not elaborate on details.
One student left the sixth floor at 2:45 p.m. due to a virus, which had worsened after the group ran out of medication. When the news was spread on Twitter, McGill sent a doctor in to check on the remaining students.
Di Grappa’s email on Thursday morning details the administration’s stance on negotiating with the students on the sixth floor. The email states McGill will not negotiate regarding the two demands made by the students.
“We will not negotiate with anyone disrupting university activities in this manner. We are interested only in talking about a safe, peaceful end to the occupation. In addition, we do not feel that these individuals have a mandate to represent students,” wrote Di Grappa.
Di Grappa also noted that McGill has been in discussions with CKUT and QPIRG in regards to the fall 2011 referenda questions since before the students entered the James building. He adds, “We intend to continue our discussions.”
Both CKUT and QPIRG have confirmed to The Daily that the organizations were not aware of students’ plans to occupy the James building prior to Tuesday when the action began.
At 5 p.m. reports from the sixth floor state that power has been cut off. Security told students outside the cause of the power outage is a blown fuse. Power is visibly on in other parts of the building. Internet in the building was cut off Tuesday night.