Two giant signs outlining a plan to erect a statue of McGill’s current principal tacked to the fence surrounding an on-campus construction site are part of a prank, administrators claim.
Hanging in front of the James Administration building, the signs contained a large computerized image and descriptions in both English and French detailing plans for a statue of principal Heather Munroe-Blum. They were weatherproof, supported by two wooden beams, and came complete with McGill and City of Montreal logos at the bottom.
The posters, the administration claimed, are part of an elaborate hoax.
A phony print-up of an online McGill Reporter article spread the Heather Munroe-Blum statue rumour further. Matthew Ward, SSMU Director of Communications and Publications, found the print-up tacked up on a wall. The article, titled “Working towards a growing Campus,” claimed a publication date of July 24, 2008.
The McGill Reporter does not publish in July. The URL at the bottom of the print-up leads to a “404 Not Found” page, and searching the author’s name yields zero hits in the McGill Reporter search results.
Both the sham McGill Reporter article and the signs that outline plans for the expansion of the green space, tunnel and pipe repair, construction on the Burnside and Leacock buildings, landscaping of the lower field, and “the unveiling of a statue of Principal Heather Munroe-Blum in honour of her remarkable fundraising achievements for McGill.”
The article even quotes Robert Stanley, the Projects Director at Facilities Development, as saying, “Its [sic] thanks in large part to the success of Campaign McGill that we were able to do all these projects…so its [sic] fitting that we can use this opportunity to honour McGill’s most historic fundraiser.”
Jim Nicell, the coordinator of the Master Plan, McGill’s long-term outline for the physical improvement of campus, said the signs were a complete joke. He had not heard about the phony Reporter article before The Daily interviewed him.
Plans for the area – currently under construction due to actual tunnel repairs – will not be finalized for another four to five months, according to Nicell. The project is not expected to be finished until August.
Though Nicell did not wish to comment on the statue hoax directly, he mentioned that he, the principal, and his staff got a kick out of the signs they found. One currently stands in his office while the other sits in Munroe-Blum’s.
“I had a good laugh out of it,” he said.
Munroe-Blum was unavailable for comment before press time.