Commentary  Rejecting appropriation

The Black Students’ Network on the use of their name in the QPIRG opt-out campaign

We, the Black Students’ Network (BSN), would like to reiterate the sentiments we expressed in Monday’s paper by saying we continue to stand in complete solidarity and support of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group at McGill. QPIRG is an institution that stands against all forms of discrimination on the basis of class, gender, race, sexual orientation, and dis/ability; thus actively striving to make the McGill community as safe and fair as possible for all students.

The BSN also strives to promote and maintain a safe atmosphere for the McGill community by creating avenues for minority students to excel in both student social and academic life.

Recently, however, we have been appalled by the advertisements propagated by the students/organization behind the QPIRG opt-out campaign. Their usage of our service’s name on their posters is a complete defamation of character. Their claims that students can use the $7.50 fee obtained by opting out of QPIRG to attend a “Black Students’ Network BBQ” is deplorable.

Firstly, we would like to make clear that we are not at all – in any manner – associated with the opt-out campaign being implemented against QPIRG.

Secondly, we believe that the students/organization behind this propaganda must be reprimanded for their actions. Not only did we not sign off on their use of our service’s name as an advertisement tactic against an organization that is so important to the McGill community, but also the opt-out campaign did not even contact us to have our name used. Therefore, they used our service’s name without our permission or knowledge and defamed our organization’s character in the process.

Having not had the common decency to come to us and request permission to use our name, they have, in turn, falsely disseminated information that is neither true nor a correct representation of what the BSN stands for as an organization.

Our organization has not had a barbeque in a number of years. Furthermore, the image used on the poster to illustrate their propaganda was found by many of our executive members to be extremely discriminatory.

To be so unaware of the stereotypical attachments that food has had within the black community, and the racially discriminatory effects it has had in association with our community, is to be unaware of history.

Furthermore, for the students/organization behind this opt-out campaign, to be so unaware of the racially discriminatory effects of their actions hinders the efforts of what QPIRG essentially stands for – which is equality for all regardless of class, gender, race, sexual orientation, and dis/ability. To be so ignorant regarding the effects of their propagation is to be ignorant of the different groups that the McGill community encompasses.

Thus, we, the Black Students’ Network, will not stand for this. We once again state that we in no way support the opt-out campaign or the students/organization behind it, nor are we at all pleased with the use of our service’s name without our permission or knowledge to advertise for this completely despicable movement against QPIRG, which we believe further defamed our organization’s character, standpoint, and mission statement as a whole.

This statement was issued by the Black Students’ Network of McGill University. You can reach the organization by writing, or by going to their website at