I write to you this evening frustrated and disappointed with the actions the administration taken against Danji Buck-Moore, until recently a floor fellow at Solin Hall. As a first-year living on the fourth floor of Solin during the 2010-2011 academic year, I had the pleasure of getting to know Danji as my floor fellow and then as a dear friend. Thanks to Danji my transition into the fast paced life of McGill and Montreal was smooth and comfortable. Danji was knowledgeable and eager to help, like all floor fellows, but he went above and beyond his duties, encouraging his students to become active members in the McGill community.
Whenever I needed help, advice, information, or support, Danji was always available. I vividly remember passing by the white board hanging from Danji’s door each day on my way to school. Everyday, Danji updated this board with campus events, sports games, plays, concerts, and activities we could participate in. To the left of the white board hung a brown cork board covered with various brochures and posters, providing us with information on the different services available to students at McGill. It’s worth noting that, apart from Danji’s boards, I have not come across any clear and concise lists of the services and events open to me at McGill posted by the administration.
Even when Danji was not on duty, his door was open – inviting any passerby to come in for tea and home-made cookies. Danji loved his students, and was happy to hear anything we wanted to share with him. With his compassion, kindness and generosity, Danji was like a father to us: he made us feel secure and cared for as we started a new chapter in our lives.
I am shocked, therefore, to learn from an article in The McGill Daily that Danji has been dismissed from his floor fellow position because of his participation in #6party. In addition to being an extremely cruel, misguided, and undeserved punishment for his actions, Danji’s dismissal is a great loss for the entire McGill community – especially for those in Solin Hall, who may feel cut off from campus. By firing Danji in the midst of the academic year, the administration irresponsibly disrupted the lives of first-year students who have already suffered through the extremely long MUNACA strike and the frightening presence of riot police on our campus.
Although McGill strives to compete with other world-class universities, the administration’s treatment of its students is inferior to that of its peers. My parents, who both graduated from elite American universities, are horrified by the mediocre service and lack of support that students pay to receive at McGill. My mother graduated from Yale Divinty School in 2010, and I visited her many times during her studies. I witnessed the support that students receive in a world-class institution. The support that we receive, quite simply, is not world-class. Your decision to remove Danji from a position he has held for almost two years is symptomatic of the reckless, ill-informed, and, quite frankly, abusive position that the administration takes towards students who exercise their right to free speech: a threat unfathomable to students at the universities McGill tries to compete with.
It is obvious that the students involved in #6party felt that drastic and direct action, such as #6party, was necessary to grab the attention of an administration largely unreceptive to student demands. Instead of dismissing protesters from their jobs, and depriving students of their floor fellows, I encourage the administration to engage in an honest dialogue with their student body.
I also urge you to restore the title of floor fellow, with all the accompanying benefits, to Danji Buck-Moore.
Brendan Gaffney is a U2 East Asian Studies Student. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org