Correction appended February 10.
One of 22 students staging a “surprise resignation party” for Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson in his office on the sixth floor of the James administration building was thrown out of the building.
At around 10:30 p.m. reports from the sixth floor “party” contingent were received stating that four security agents were surrounding the student, Moe Nasr, who has osteoporosis and was looking to leave the building to obtain his medication.
Security agents said they offered to escort Nasr to a back door in order for him to exit the building, however Nasr wanted to exit the building through the lobby, where nearly thirty students were partying in solidarity with the sixth floor contingent.
Students in the lobby attempted to negotiate with security agents for Nasr to join them or for Nasr to be escorted by another student to the back of the building.
“They wanted to escort me, so they told me it’s either the back or side staircase, I told them it’s the front staircase,” said Nasr. “They were like ok, go through the front staircase. They escorted me downstairs until we were between the first and second floor.”
In a film shot by students through a window in the door, Nasr is shown surrounded by five or six security agents and later carried up the stairs. Nasr states he fell several times, hit his head on stairs, and was carried by McGill Security.
Nasr originally stated that he was punched, but later corrected himself to say that he was elbowed in the stomach.
In an email to Le Délit, Director of Media Relations Doug Sweet wrote that “Security personnel threw no punches. There was a scuffle, because the individual in question, having been warned repeatedly that if he did not go out of his own volition he would be carried out, then resisted security personnel with all his might.”
Nasr said he was “thrown out” of the west side entrance of the building. “After that I went pretty much crazy, I started shoving them, I pretty much pushed practically every single one of them. I started pushing them back, running towards the door trying to open it,” he said.
Nasr then moved to the front entrance of the building. He attempted to gain access to the building but was repelled by security agents.
A charged exchange between some students and Kevin Byers, operations administrator for McGill Security, took place inside the lobby immediately following the altercation. East Asian Studies Professor Adrienne Hurley spoke to The Daily after the incident.
“It’s important to note that he was assaulted by McGill Security in the past,” said Hurley in the building.
Nasr said a member of McGill Security filmed the altercation between him and agents. Byers also filmed those in the lobby at about 4 a.m, while most were asleep.
When asked whether McGill Security was given a directive to film the two actions, Sweet told The Daily in an interview that, “We’ve said many times that we don’t discuss security procedures in public, and that applies in this case as well.”
The remainder of the night was peaceful, as students slept on the floor of the lobby and were in sporadic contact with sixth floor occupiers.
Security agents opened the main doors to the lobby at 5:45 a.m. According to one agent, the entry of cold air was necessary due to overheating.
A previous version of this article did not specify that the blows to Nasr’s head were a result of hitting his head on stairs, not from security personnel. Additionally, Nasr wished to clarify that he was not punched by security personnel, as originally stated. The Daily regrets the errors.