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Statement from the SSMU Board of Directors
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Fellow students,

At its meeting of February 13, 2017, the SSMU Board of Directors issued a censure to Director Igor Sadikov for his recent actions. This is a formal disciplinary action that acknowledges the harm caused as a result of one of Director Sadikov’s Twitter posts. The Board also resolved to issue this public statement in order to uphold the transparency of its decision-making.

 
Although the SSMU stands in support of freedom of expression and the right of representatives to hold a diversity of political beliefs, this protection does not extend to expressions of a violent or oppressive manner, even on a personal social media account unaffiliated with the SSMU. In particular, student leaders who make decisions on behalf of our organization must be held accountable for their actions.
 
At the meeting, Director Sadikov acknowledged that he made a lapse in
judgement and apologized for the harm caused as a result. He affirmed his opposition to violence and regretted that many people have felt unsafe on campus. It was the opinion of a majority of the Board that he demonstrated remorse at the meeting as well as a willingness to work towards repairing the harm caused to the McGill community. We have attached a formal apology from Director Sadikov outlining his response to these concerns.
 
Furthermore, the SSMU President has committed to seeking out collaboration with other campus groups and the McGill administration in order to develop a forum for productive dialogue on Zionism that will help to develop an awareness of diverse perspectives on this issue.
 
Finally, other channels exist for adjudicating on the suitability of Director Sadikov as an elected representative. These include the SSMU General Assembly and the Legislative Council, as well as the governance bodies of the Arts Undergraduate Society. The Board reiterates its disapproval by formally censuring Director Sadikov and publicizing this statement.
 
– SSMU Board of Directors 2016-2017

Statement from Director Igor Sadikov

I sincerely apologize for recently publishing a tweet expressing a personal political viewpoint in an insensitive and inappropriate manner by referencing a popular meme. Even though the tweet was published on a personal account, the format I used was unbecoming of my leadership position and the expectations that are associated with it. I deeply regret the harm that was caused as a result.

I regret that members of the McGill community have felt unsafe as a result of the tweet, which, without context, appears to be a genuine call to violence. Many of my constituents and fellow students, and some of my friends, identify as Zionists. I am Jewish myself, and I understand the importance of the state of Israel to many Jews. My parents and a number of our family friends are Zionists as well. I do not wish to enact, and would not condone, violence of any kind toward anyone in my community. I hope that, despite the high level of attention it garnered, my tweet can be understood for what it was: a misguided joke with a political meaning, rather than a credible call for violence.

Over the past few days, I have had opportunities to engage in conversations about Zionism with fellow students who have reached out to me with questions or criticism. I am committed to expanding my knowledge on Zionism by continuing and facilitating such conversations, both within Jewish communities and in dialogue with Palestinian voices, based on a shared commitment to social justice and human rights.

Specifically, I will personally reach out to those who have felt harmed as a result of my tweet, including members of Zionist groups, in order to apologize, and, if desired, engage in dialogue in their preferred format. I am willing to respond to or meet in person with any individuals or groups. I will participate in training and educational activities in order to better engage with a diversity of perspectives on Zionism. I will also seek out collaboration with campus groups and the administration in order to create a space for productive discussion on this topic.

I also want to take this opportunity to address a comment I made at the last meeting of the SSMU Legislative Council. I said: “As to your claim that Jewish people are an ethno-religious group indigenous to the Levant, again as someone with a Jewish heritage and Jewish ancestry I want to note that that is a deeply contested claim.” I apologize for the lack of clarity in the phrasing of this statement. To clarify, I believe that Jewish peoples around the world constitute many ethno-religious communities with different geographies and histories, including Jews of the Levant, European Jews, North African Jews, Sub-Saharan African Jews, Latin American Jews, South Asian Jews, and East Asian Jews, as well as multiracial Jews of colour and converts to Judaism. I look forward to engaging in further discussion on this topic.

I welcome any further questions, concerns, or other feedback, and reaffirm my commitment to the safety and well-being of all students.
 

– Igor Sadikov

Copyright © 2015 The Students' Society of McGill University, All rights reserved.

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