Sir George Williams affair

Sir George Williams

“The Sir George Williams Riot (also referred to as ‘The Sir George Williams Computer Incident’) was a 1969 event at Sir George Williams University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, now a part of Concordia University. It was the largest student occupation in Canadian history, and resulted in $2 million of property damage. The Sir George Williams riot has been labelled as a riot when in fact was a peaceful protest until the police arrived to remove protestors illegally occupying the computer center in the Henry F. Hall building. It all started in 1968 when six West Indian students accused biology professor Anderson of discrimination because of unfair grading. These accusations were laid against Anderson on May 1968. There was no meeting held to discuss the incident and to find a solution. This issue could have been resolved promptly but it was not taken seriously by the administrators. Eight months later, students took matters into their own hands by organizing meetings, sit-ins and peaceful protests. There were also additional events happening at the university and in the city of Montreal that contributed to the festering crisis and its destructive conclusion. In October 1968, a few months before the riot, Montreal hosted two conferences on the position of black people in society. The first conference was hosted at the University and organized by black alumni and some professors and other members of the University. The first was a conference engaging Black organizations across Canada represented by Black leaders from Halifax to Vancouver. According to ‘Expression’, a quarterly publication of the Negro Citizenship Association Inc (Conference Issue Winter 1968) the purpose of the conference was to examine the ‘problems in the Canadian society with reference to Black people.’ The second, ‘The Black Writers Conference’ was hosted at McGill University. This conference was focused on ‘the ideology of Black Power and Black Nationalism’. The two conferences held weeks apart and at the two different venues reflected formal agreements to disagree on priorities and span of action: domestic versus international. Both of these conferences contributed to the tensions at Sir George Williams University.  …”
W – Black Power movement in Montreal
The Little-Known Story Behind Canada’s Largest Student Occupation
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