A group of survivors and allies have united to take action against David Aird, current VP External at the Students’ Society of McGill University. If you have experienced harassment and/or harm from this individual, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. David has a history of sexualized and gendered violence, and a process has begun to hold him to account. We are taking steps to ensure his removal from all positions of power within our communities.
We are collecting anonymous disclosures which will be presented to the SSMU Board of Directors for a confidential review process. After this review process the Board will have the opportunity to recommend that David resign. The Board of Directors is legally the highest governing body of SSMU. In particular, it handles Human Resources matters at an executive level, and is bound by law to respect confidentiality. It is made up of four councillors, four executives, and four members at large appointed by committee. It operates under a majority-based decision making process. David is currently a member of the Board. While there are operational measures in place to ensure that he will not be present during the Board’s review process, he will have access to the disclosures in order to “defend himself” to the Board. This process will present David the option to step down quietly. This is out of no sympathy for him, but rather out of respect for the wishes of those implicated. We consider this to be one step in a much larger process of accountability, which includes systemic change as well as other methods of community oriented justice.
If you have ever experienced sexualized or gendered violence (harassment, assault, unwarranted pursuit online or in-person, inappropriate touching, etc), this is a platform for you to disclose your experience. By submitting text to this form, you will remain anonymous to the people who are receiving the submissions. However, if you wish to have your name associated with the disclosure, simply include it in your statement. Names, dates (especially if the incident occurred during his time on SSMU’s executive), nature of your professional/other relationship with David, any other circumstance which complicates the power dynamics is helpful but not necessary.
Included in your disclosure, please let us know if (a) you are comfortable with the information you’ve submitted being disclosed to the Board of Directors (which David sits on), and (b) if you would be comfortable with the text being used in an article in the McGill Daily, or made public in some other way. It’s perfectly fine if you are comfortable with neither of these, or if you’re unsure about your level of comfort. Please also use this space to communicate your thoughts on the process, whether or not you would like to be more involved (make sure to provide an email address if so), and how we can ensure that we are centering the voices, experiences, and desires of those directly impacted above maintaining the image or reputation of institutions such as McGill or SSMU. We as a group want this process to be empowering and supporting. Though we have currently opted for a more discrete process it does not foreclose any future actions taken by any number of individuals. Likewise, if you take issue with the avenue we have opted to pursue, please indicate so, as the process is ongoing and adaptable.
Please share this link with any and all who you think would like to contribute. Keep in mind that it may be triggering or distressing for some people to receive this, and that people should think carefully about how this form should be shared. For instance, you should be in a position to be supportive of the person you're communicating this to, and perhaps accompany the link with a message to make that clear. There are lots of factors to consider in choosing how to share this, and different possible ways of doing it, but sending the link over large group chats or listservs, or sending the link privately without any kind of accompanying message, should be avoided. For the moment we are also not posting this link publicly (please share via email or private messenger), but are eager to receive feedback on this decision as well. You may also direct further comments/questions/concerns/ideas to email@example.com. Furthermore, if you would prefer to meet and discuss in person, send an email to the above address and a designated point of contact will respond within 24 hours.
***Thinking about your instance of sexualized/gendered violence might be difficult, and it might feel retraumatizing. That is a perfectly natural response. There are many reasons why people decide not to share or go public with their experiences, and we deeply regret if this message has caused you any further harm. The resilience of this community is incredible. However, if it ever becomes too much, you can find support through the following resources:
The Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS) is a volunteer-run organization committed to supporting survivors of sexual assault and their allies through direct support, advocacy, and outreach. Their services include Drop-In and Line (DIAL), Support Groups, Advocacy, and Outreach.
Montreal . http://www.sacomss.org/wp/
The Community Disclosure Network, in conjunction with SACOMSS, is organizing a support group facilitated by trained volunteers that will be open to all those who have experienced any degree of sexualized or gendered violence by D. There is a great range of experiences that have come to us through either the anonymous form, by email, or through personal disclosures - all are welcome to participate, whether or not you have disclosed anything to our network previously, or are planning to in the future. All experiences are valid and worth talking about. If you would be interested in participating or would like more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org