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The Breaking of the Floor Fellowship

McGill leaves its Floor Fellows – and residents – hanging

In a shocking announcement on Thursday, February 15, McGill notified its 65 current Floor Fellows that their jobs would be eliminated in the coming academic year. This decision was announced abruptly and unexpectedly, leaving the Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE), which represents the Floor Fellows, confused and distressed. 

Employed throughout the university’s nine downtown residence buildings, Floor Fellows are McGill’s first line of service for first-year undergraduates living on campus. The role is filled by older students – from second-years to graduate students – who live alongside residents in order to ensure their safety and monitor their well-being. Floor Fellows are trained to identify emergencies, medical and otherwise, in order to refer residents to intensive care. First-years who feel ill at ease or who are experiencing health-related or personal difficulties may also turn to their Floor Fellows for support and advice. 

Crucial to the effectiveness of the position is the Floor Fellows’ built-in proximity to residents. In eliminating the existing role, McGill is planning to cover the same scope of services and responsibilities by hiring an additional 30 “Residence Life Facilitators” to patrol dormitory halls and keep residents in check from a distance. Unlike Floor Fellows, the new Residence Life Facilitators will not be living alongside students. The removal of support from close quarters is concerning for the state of resident safety and student support moving forward. The decision to distance prospective help from students living in residences is both unintuitive and regressive. Students transitioning into university life will have their closest point of aid taken away without an immediate means of response to potential crises. For many residents, Floor Fellows serve as their most convenient and comfortable point of exchange with authority without having to navigate the slower and more complicated system of liaising with the school itself. Accessing student services at McGill can be very challenging, especially as a first-year living on your own for the first time in a new city.

The university passed its judgment after an internal “departmental review,” conducted without consulting either the Floor Fellows or their union, AMUSE. Following the announcement on February 15, the union says it is considering taking legal action against the school for the spontaneous elimination of the 65 Floor Fellow positions. Although McGill has invited current Floor Fellows to apply to the newly created Residence Life Facilitator jobs in the coming year, no plan has yet been announced to directly compensate them for the termination of their employment. 

McGill has a long history of disregarding the concerns of Floor Fellows and other AMUSE workers. At the beginning of the current school year, Floor Fellows were relegated to the smallest rooms in their residences, forcing them to share common spaces and bathrooms with their residents and eroding their privacy and sense of work-life balance. As with the decision to abolish the position, Floor Fellows were not consulted about a change that would drastically affect their working conditions. Just a year before that, Floor Fellows went on strike due to inadequate wages and late payments.

It is unacceptable that McGill is continuing to treat its employees this way. If you have thoughts on the decision or the role of Floor Fellows at our university, AMUSE is collecting testimonies to prove the devastating impact this decision will have on students. You can find the form at It’s important to continue to support AMUSE and the other labour unions at McGill currently fighting for fair wages and better working conditions, such as the Association of Graduate Students Employment at McGill (AGSEM), Association of McGill Professors of Law (AMPL), and McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA). Finally, if you are an employee at McGill, get involved with your union to collectively organize with your colleagues to ensure that your rights are respected.