This month, marks the Quebec Public Interest Research Group at McGill’s thirtieth anniversary of research, education, and activism on issues of social justice and the environment. However, QPIRG’s position as it celebrates its birthday is not as solid as its longevity might suggest. In recent months an opt-out campaign has once again been launched by a handful of individuals on campus seeking to get students to opt out of the $3.75 they pay each semester to support QPIRG. While some members of this campaign have taken aim at the controversial groups QPIRG supports – such as Tadamon! – they have also deceptively touted it as a way to save money or to buy a sandwich, without justification or admission of political motivation.
These kinds of tactics are both petty and divisive. Campus debate is a healthy and vital part of any student community, and groups seeking to inhibit this by removing those who would disagree with them only serve to undermine our campus’s collegial political climate. There are many clubs on campus whose politics we may not support, but whose existence we should.
It’s important that we come together as a community of students who support each other, even if we don’t always agree. QPIRG offers many students a place on campus where they feel they can be heard; whether or not we agree with their positions, it is our responsibility as a student body to make sure our peers have a place in which to express those views.