Statement of Concern Regarding RCMP Presence at Mount Allison University

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On Wednesday October 23, 2019, an academic event took place at Mount Allison University that was organized by a faculty member in the Department of Politics & International Relations. It was a book event featuring a visiting author – Joan Kuyek – who recently published Unearthing Justice: How to Protect Your Community from the Mining Industry. At the end of the event, two individuals arrived and identified themselves as RCMP officers. They were in plain clothes and wanted to speak directly to the author. It quickly became clear to Kuyek that they were there on police business, and without providing a clear purpose for their visit, the officers talked to Kuyek briefly and then left.

We, the undersigned students, faculty, staff, and alumni are deeply concerned with this RCMP visit to an academic event on our campus. Academic freedom is central to the mission of the University, and is absolutely crucial to ensure that we can engage in free and rigorous debate and discussion at the University. Members of the Mount Allison community must be free to pursue knowledge and ideas without the threat or fear of intimidation from law enforcement, or any other agents of the state. The presence of RCMP officers at an academic event has the potential to send a ‘chill’ across campus. This is unacceptable, and we collectively assert that the RCMP is not welcome on our campus uninvited for purposes of monitoring events and community gatherings, conducting surveillance, or intimidating members of our community. 

It is also important to recognize that there is a broader context of the RCMP monitoring individuals who may be considered dissidents, especially Indigenous people who are politically active or otherwise engaged in land and water defense. It is absolutely imperative that Mount Allison University be a safe and welcoming place for Indigenous students, staff, faculty, and visitors to our campus.