Nine students, who had occupied Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson’s office since Tuesday, were peacefully evicted Sunday morning.
At 8:57 a.m., one of the occupiers yelled from the sixth floor window to three students sleeping outside the James Administration building that police were going to evict the students.
23 students originally entered Mendelson’s office, but left at various points during the week. The last student to leave before the eviction exited the building at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning.
In an email sent to all McGill students and staff shortly after the eviction, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) Michael Di Grappa stated that the occupiers were read a formal eviction notice. Occupiers were informed that police could charge them with resisting arrest if they had to be physically removed.
According to Di Grappa’s email, the students were given five minutes to gather all belongings and leave the building.
As to why Sunday morning was chosen for the eviction, Di Grappa wrote, “It became unfeasible to enter another week without use of the building to conduct the work of the University. Members of the senior administration decided that activities at the James Building should resume Monday morning, and that a full day would be needed to clean the building in preparation for McGill employees to return to work.”
Seven police vans entered campus during the eviction. According to one police officer on the scene, two police divisions were present – one to conduct the eviction, and the other to secure the exterior.
The officer said about six officers from the Post de quartier 20, Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal’s (SPVM) neighbourhood police division, carried out the eviction.
The students who were sleeping outside packed up a tent and supplies that had been amassed there since Tuesday. McGill security agents and police remained on the scene until all of the students had left, at about 10 a.m.
One officer on the scene said that the SPVM were aware of the occupation for several days. “It was this morning that McGill decided to end it, at 8:30 a.m.,” he said.
Di Grappa’s email states that occupiers were offered first aid, food, and contact for counseling services. He also noted that upon the students’ exit from the James building, students presented security agents with a letter of apology.
The occupiers, collectively known as #6party, issued a brief statement in response to Di Grappa.
“We will prepare a longer statement after we have a warm meal, but we do want to respond quickly to DiGrappa’s MRO [email]; we were not offered food or counselling services. Our friends partying downstairs, however, have arranged for both,” it read.
None of the sixth floor students are yet available for comment.