I arrived at McGill today at 8:45am. An art project that I’ll be posting on Tuesday necessitated some early morning photography, and a long walk in the freezing bloody cold from Westmount to McGill. Ironically, while I was defrosting my extremities, settling in at the lab, and getting ready to work, the partiers in the James Administration building were being evicted.
I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that the occupation of the sixth floor ended this way. Given the chosen location, the McGill administration’s tactlessness, and the attitude of the partiers, this seems to have been inevitable. Two infinitely stubborn groups of people ended up in a sort of “arm wrestling” match, and the stronger arm won.
Given my position on the 6 party over the past few days, I might sound like I’ve changed sides. I haven’t. The truth is that I did, and do support the efforts of the 6 party, and I’m very interested to see how this event affects student life. While I don’t entirely agree with their actions (as I’ve said previously,) I admire their tenacity, their eloquence, and their guts. I also happen to agree with their objectives.
I believe that the 6 party accomplished something even more important than the goals they originally strove for: they got people talking. No matter your position on QPIRG and CKUT, fee opt-outs, student activism, or any of the other issues discussed, the majority of people seem to agree that there is a problem somewhere. Students at McGill are apathetic about their student government. I have to admit that my participation – aside from a lot of talk on the internet – has been minimal, and I think that’s a big problem*. Lack of student involvement is why the administration can simply renew Morton Mendelson’s term, an action that prompted a complaint memo from the presidents of 11 of McGill’s undergraduate societies. Lack of student involvement is the reason most people hadn’t even read the questions on the QPIRG and CKUT referendum (and yes, they were vague, even though that’s no reason for the McGill administration to subvert the students’ democratic process.) Lack of student involvement is why people grow up to be non-voting citizens, who sit idly by while politicians sign into law terrible pieces of legislature all over the world.
It’s time for people to wake the hell up and pay attention. Your studies are important, but so is your involvement in your government, be that student government, local government, provincial, or even federal government. Get involved and pay attention. I know I plan to.
*I don’t mean that to sound like “HEY GUYS I’M SUCH A BIG DEAL! I SHOULD GET INVOLVED MORE!” I meant that I think my level of involvement is probably typical at McGill, and that’s a big problem.