Student Representative Assembly adopts comprehensive stance regarding McMaster's Security Services

June 18, 2020 at 12:00 pm

At its June 14 meeting, the Student Representative Assembly (SRA), the highest governing body of the MSU, passed a comprehensive motion calling on McMaster University to:

  • defund campus security and phase out the majority of the Special Constables program by September 2020, with a full program removal by January 2021
  • invest in racially and culturally diverse mental health support, harm reduction programs, food and housing security for students, and survivor centric resources
  • remove Glenn De Caire as Director of Security and Parking Services of McMaster University

As reported by numerous media outlets, inlcuding  The Hamilton Spectator, CBC and CHCH, hudreds of students have emailed the MSU's Board of Direcoros calling for the removal of Glenn De Caire, while thousands more have signed petiitons calling for the same.

"There is a misconception having no police, or a lack of special constables, means people will be less safe,” said MSU President, Giancarlco Da-Ré. “McMaster currently has both of those systems yet students, especially those within our BIPOC communities, do not feel safe — rather, they feel targeted".

Watch the livestream of the SRA meeting by visiting the SRA Facebook page.

The motion, which is now the basis for the MSU's advocacy efforts towards the University, is as follows:

Moved by Da-Ré, seconded by Isah that the McMaster Students Union adopts the following statement:

Whereas, racism is an umbrella term that includes prejudice, discrimination and antagonism against peoples based on race; and

Whereas; McMaster University hired the former chief of Hamilton Police Services (HPS), Glenn De Caire to take over as head of Security and Parking Services in January of 2016; and

Whereas, De Caire supported the racist and unconstitutional practice of “carding”; and

Whereas, The Ontario Human Rights Commission said that De Caire’s defense of carding is a [quote] “textbook description of racial profiling.”; and

Whereas, an email was forwarded to HPS officers (in September of 2015) from Chief De Caire that included the phrase, “time for these black kids to stop blaming the police.”; and

Whereas, De Caire is the creator of the HPS ACTION teams, the shock-troops of gentrification, pushing people of colour, indigenous people, and other working-class people out of the downtown core; and

Whereas, when Ontario relaxed regulations on the use of tasers, Hamilton, under De Caire’s leadership, was one of the first and most enthusiastic police forces to begin using tasers; and

Whereas, McMaster students have protested the hiring of Glenn De Caire since his first day  of work on January 17th, 2016;and

Whereas, during SRA meeting 15Q in March of 2016, an SRA motion was passed by the 2015/16 SRA with 28 in Favour, 0 Opposed and 3 Abstentions for the SRA to endorse a campaign to get Glenn De Caire off campus, to call on the University to terminate Glenn De Caire from the position of Director of Security and Parking Services, to call on the University to end its campaign of increasing the presence of police on our campus, and to call on the University to form a new hiring committee made up of students, faculty, and campus support staff to make the new hire;and

Whereas, a majority of Minneapolis City Council members have pledged to disband the city’s police department; and

Whereas, the University of Minnesota has committed to limiting their collaboration with the Minneapolis Police Department to joint patrols and investigations that directly enhance the safety of their community; and

Whereas, the mayor of Los Angeles has announced the City will be cutting $150 million from the L.A. Police Department as part of a larger plan to divert $250 million from the City’s budget to programs in communities of colour; and

Whereas, on June 4th, 2020, Ryerson University announced that it will not proceed with the Special Constable Program, and will “convene a working group to hold further consultations with students, faculty, and staff to discuss how the university can develop a safety and security model that works for the Ryerson community”; and

Whereas, on June 1st, 2020, McMaster announced in a public statement that they “denounce anti-black racism and racism of any kind”; and

Whereas, since late May of 2020, over 400 McMaster students have emailed their 2020/21 McMaster Students Union representatives asking for them to call on the University to terminate Glenn De Caire from position of Director of Security and Parking Services; and

Whereas, since late May of 2020, roughly 10,000 individuals have signed petitions to call on the University to terminate Glenn De Caire from position of Director of Security and Parking Services; and

Whereas, McMaster Security and Parking Services does not publicly show aggregated data on the detainments, stops and frisks, nor demographic data associated with those stops; and

Whereas, McMaster’s Special Constables receive sections of their training from Hamilton Police Services, though the nature of this training is not publicly accessible, and little is known on the extent in which McMaster Security and Parking Services is addressing student concerns of discrimination through these trainings; and

Whereas, McMaster Security and Parking Services and Halton Police Services established an official partnership in 2017 to allow for McMaster Security Services to use their “police officer powers at the Ron Joyce Centre in Burlington”; and

Whereas, the McMaster Students Union recently passed an Indigenous Students policy with a recommendation to hire another Indigenous mental health counsellor, or make the position of the current Indigenous mental health counsellor full-time to be able to cater to the unique needs of this student population; and therefore

Be it resolved that the 2020/21 SRA will hold McMaster University accountable to its commitment against anti- black racism and racism of any kind through action; be it further

Resolved, that the 2020/21 SRA supports the removal of Glenn De Caire from campus, be it further

Resolved, that the 2020/21 SRA calls upon the University to terminate Glenn De Caire from position of Director of Security and Parking Services; be it further

Resolved, that the 2020/21 SRA calls upon the University to phase out the majority of the Special Constables program by September 1st, 2020, and calls for a full removal of the Special Constables program from McMaster University by January 1st, 2021; be it further

Resolved, that the MSU will consult the relevant groups and stakeholders on their own or the University's hiring of private security firms as a replacement for campus constables; be it further

Resolved, that the 2020/21 SRA calls upon the University to end its working relationship with Hamilton Police Services and Halton Police Services; be it further

Resolved, that the McMaster Students Union will research and explore alternative options for a security presence at McMaster Students Union sanctioned events that have historically involved Security Services or the Hamilton Police Services; be it further

Resolved, that the 2020/21 SRA calls upon the University to begin a working group with opportunity for community input from relevant community members, with representation from the McMaster Students Union on the working group, excluding representation from Hamilton Police Services on the working group, to create a plan for the future safety of the McMaster campus without the Special Constables program; be it further

Resolved, that the 2020/21 SRA will call on McMaster University to divert investments from the Special Constables program and redirect investment to racially and culturally diverse mental health support, harm reduction programs, food & housing security for students, survivor-centric resources, and a re-imagined safety plan for the McMaster community; be it further

Resolved, that the 2020/21 SRA will call on all faculty offices to permanently terminate all ties to Ontario Police Services, Hamilton police and all other police services; this includes any internships, trainings and co-op contracts with police services.

For more information, please contact:

Giancarlo Da-Ré
MSU President
president@msu.mcmaster.ca

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