AGSEM's open letter to McGill Administration with regard to a safe working environment on campus


October 12, 2021


Dear Mr. Desjardins,


As the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM), we would like

to inform you about two motions which were voted and approved by our members at the

General Assembly held on September 29th, 2021. Since these motions were approved

by the highest decision-making body of our union and relate to health & safety on

campus, we request you to consider these as part of the University’s planning in regard

to providing a safe working environment for Teaching Assistants and Invigilators on

campus.


The two motions voted and approved by the AGSEM General Assembly are:


1.1. BIRT AGSEM requests McGill university to continue to encourage its communities

to get vaccinated or get frequently tested when coming to campus. In addition, McGill

should make rapid testing equipment available and free to its community members.

1.2. BIFRT AGSEM requests McGill to improve ventilation in buildings, enforce social

distancing and mask throughout both campuses.

1.3. BIFRT AGSEM request that McGill case management include TAs on the class

email notifying of a positive case of Covid-19 in their classroom


2. BIRT that AGSEM supports the implementation of a vaccine mandate for members of

the McGill community who are on campus who AGSEM members would come in

contact with in person to protect our union members, with the alternative of regular

(weekly) rapid testing, provided by McGill.


The first motion passed encourages the administration to continue its efforts to

communicate to members of the McGill community the societal benefits of mass

vaccination. We also request improved ventilation in indoor settings, as well as social

distancing and masks on both campuses. Along with these measures, the union

requests that McGill’s Covid-19 Case Management include adding Teaching Assistants

to class emails notifying about a positive case of Covid-19 in the classroom.


The second motion supports the implementation of a vaccine mandate for those

members of the McGill community with whom AGSEM members would come in contact

when on campus. The rationale for this request is for McGill to demonstrate to its members that we are part of a community and each individual decision related to

vaccination has an impact on other community members.


To quote Dr. Anthony Fauci, who gave the 2021 Beatty lecture at McGill:


“You are a member of society and as a member of society reaping all the benefits of

being a member of society you have a responsibility to society [...] There comes a time

when you do have to give up what you consider your individual right of making the

decision of getting vaccinated] for the greater good of society.”


One of the priorities the union is advocating for the 2021-22 academic year is safety of

our members and implementing a vaccine mandate is an effective step towards

achieving this goal. We encourage you to consult our website www.agsem.ca for more

information in regard to the union’s priorities for its members in the current academic

year.


Regards,

Mario Roy

AGSEM President

on behalf AGSEM


In solidarity:

MURA (McGill University Retirees Association)

PGSS (Post-Graduate Students' Society McGill University)