Slave past of its founder: “McGill” removed from the name of a student newspaper
The McGill Tribune becomes The Tribune. The McGill University student newspaper drops “McGill” from its name so as not to perpetuate the colonial past of its founder, James McGill. In an editorial, the editor calls on the University to do the same.
James McGill and his family owned five black and native slaves. On its website, the University acknowledges that “the fortune that allowed its foundation comes in part from the income that James McGill drew from the colonial economic system and from his trade with slave producers in the West Indies”.
< p> The student media assures that it wants to continue to evoke “the systems of oppression which persist on [the] campus and in the world”. The Tribune also wants to empower and create more opportunities for reader engagement on these issues.
The Tribune argues that the name change would mark a step towards reconciliation, but more is needed. The newspaper calls for more effort at the University to create a safe environment for Black, Indigenous and racialized students and faculty.
James McGill’s slave past had raised voices to rebrand the name from the McGill metro station. The STM had recalled that it “does not allow any changes to existing names, because they are part of the historical heritage and toponymy of Montreal”