McGill seeks right to turn down future information requests

McGill University has asked Quebec’s access to information commission to give it the right to turn down future requests from students who have repeatedly requested information.

University spokesperson Julie Fortier told the CBC that requests filed by 14 students abuse the system and would disrupt operations at the school. The requests in question include large demands, which Fortier calls “excessive”:

“She said the requests in question include demands for ‘all floor plans or maps of all buildings, tunnels and spaces maintained or operated by McGill, including emergency exits like fire escapes’ as well as ‘invoices for the filling of the fridge in the office shared by the staffs of the provost and the principal from 2002 to 2012.'” – CBC News

The motion submitted to the commission alleges the requests are “a retaliation measure against McGill in the aftermath of the 2011-2012 student protests”. Christopher Bangs, one of the respondents named in the motion and founder of the website McGilliLeaked which has published documents obtained in past access requests, says there was no coordinated effort.

The university wants to turn down the current requests. However, the university has also asked for the right to turn down future requests from any McGill student, any student journalist at the McGill Daily or Concordia University’s The Link, and anyone linked to the website McGilliLeaked if they have certain characteristics. These include requests that are “overly broad”, “frivolous”, “target trivial information” or that are “associated to one or more categories of documents and information published on McGilliLeaked”.

For more information:

The McGill Daily

The Montreal Gazette

McGill’s motion to the access to information commission

Le Devoir