McGill University in Quebec, Canada has banned its Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) chapter from using the school’s name after the campus group posted on social media a statement that cheered Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.
SPHR described Hamas’ atrocities — which included the murder of 1,200 people, numerous rapes, and taking 240 people hostage — as “heroic.”
“The university cannot be, or seen to be, associated with a celebration of the taking of civilian hostages,” university spokesperson Susan Murley told The Montreal Gazette. “This post by SPHR was antithetical to the university’s values and stands to undermine the important work aimed at bringing our community together through the Initiative Against Islamophobia and Antisemitism.”
Murley added: “The university has clearly indicated to the SSMU [Students’ Society of McGill University] that the revocation should not be interpreted as the university taking a position on the Middle East and emphasized that the university would act in exactly the same manner in regard to any club that used the McGill name when posting content of a similar nature.”
SPHR — a Canadian equivalent of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) that earlier this month accused school officials of having “the blood of 20 000 [sic] Palestinians on their hands” — is refusing to abide by the university’s order. In a statement, the group told the Gazette that it is “rejecting this name change” and charged that the ban “is just another blatant way to smear the only group on campus which is representing Palestinian students.”
McGill University has made numerous attempts to combat antisemitic speech on campus, threatening even to disaffiliate with SSMU, the school’s student government, over a referendum it scheduled to declare that Israel is conducting “genocidal bombing campaigns” in Gaza and demand that the university end partnerships with businesses described in the referendum as “complicit in genocide, settler-colonialism, apartheid, or ethnic cleansing against Palestinians.”
[The Algemeiner Report continues]
In the latest controversy, SSMU is charged with officially withdrawing the group’s affiliation with SPHR. The student government has so far not chosen to contest the university’s decision, according to a statement issued on Monday.
“We regret to announce that SPHR will no longer be able to use the McGill name,” its executive committee said. “We continue to take our role as liaison between student groups and the administration seriously and will continue to investigate avenues for remedial action.”
View this Algemeiner Report from December 19th