- What are the rules of engagement for the Montreal police? That is, given that McGill is a public university, owned by Quebec, do the police have to ask permission to send cops of any kind onto campus? Bike campus en masse? Riot police? Does McGill have any role in saying "no thanks"?
- Who asked/requested/notified the police?
- Did McGill's security folks use force in the James Administration building? One of the key triggers to the escalation outside the building were said to be tweets/instant messages from inside the building with the folks inside claiming that they were being abused. This is key on two levels:
- Did the security folks hurt students? Their job is to protect students, even protestors. So, if they used force, then McGill needs to re-consider its contract with its security company.*
- If the students in the building (and whoever else, since it might have been the case that non-McGill folks were involved) were not actually harmed, did they falsely accuse the security folks, and thus threw some gasoline on the fire? Or was it just a rumor? While we need to hold McGill's administration accountable, we also need to take seriously the possibility that the protestors might share some blame. If people inside the building were fine but tweeted otherwise, which then caused the folks outside to amp up their emotions and their actions, well, then some of the blame falls on them as well. Not prosecution but moral outrage. For instance, their claim that they were not violent but admission that they used their bodies to shove doors open are in conflict.
- Did administrators make any contact with the police to ask them to stand down? Sins of omission here can be just as problematic as sins of commission. Yes, the folks inside the building may not have known about what was going on outside, but did anyone in the administration not have eyes outside? If so, that shows a flawed procedure.
- What are McGill's procedures for handling student dissent? Where they followed here? If not, why not? If so, what is wrong with the procedures? Perhaps nothing since sometimes the best standard operating procedures are poorly implemented or are a poor fit for a particular crisis.
* I have always wondered whether McGill's security apparatus (not perhaps these guys since this private company may be new-ish) were the folks behind one or both of the computer thefts I experienced at McGill.