Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

Legislative Council Discusses Anti-Surveillance Plan, Athletics Moratorium, and Divestment
by Carley Rabie
The Bull & Bear: McGill's Student-Run News Magazine
January 22, 2022

False allegations of attacking professors who criticize Israel
False allegations of suppressing free speech
Falsely alleged dossiers on professors
False allegations of attacking critics of America's policy in the Middle East
False allegations of being a Zionist organization
Misc. Corrections
False allegations of connections to other organizations

Original text from Legislative Council Discusses Anti-Surveillance Plan, Athletics Moratorium, and Divestment:

[Note: an earlier version of this correction incorrectly identified VP of University Affairs Claire Downie as a member of the administration. She is a member of the Student Society of McGill U. The text below has been changed to reflect this fact.]

Excerpts from the article in the Bull & Bear:

1) Organisations including Canary Mission and Campus Watch are posting profiles of primarily minority individuals in an attempt to silence their activism. Those that have been targeted by this harassment include Arab, Palestinian and Jewish students and faculty engaging in pro-Palestine activism, as well as Muslim students and faculty since the implementation of Bill 21. Coussa and Javed explained that this online harassment can have serious consequences, potentially compromising the mental and physical health and safety of victims.

Excerpts from the motion passed by McGill's student government:

3) Many students have been blacklisted, surveilled, doxed or otherwise intimidated by formal and informal groups such as Canary Mission and CampusWatch [sic] for engaging in anti-colonial activism or discourse. The existence of these surveillance groups and their targeting of students ultimately suppresses free speech on this campus. Indeed, many students fear that speaking publicly about their political beliefs, or even about their cultural background and ethnic heritage, might result in them being attacked online or in person. . . .

4) Further, [the motion] commits the SSMU to demand that McGill University condemn blacklist organisations like Canary Mission and Campus Watch for undermining the physical safety, freedom of speech and academic freedom of McGill students, faculty and staff, by deploying racist strategies of surveillance and intimidation.

5) As such, it is SSMU's duty to protect undergraduate students who have been doxxed and targeted by public websites such as Canary Mission, Campus Watch, or online.

6) BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, THAT the Vice President (University Affairs), the Vice-President (External Affairs), and the President are mandated to advocate for McGill University to condemn blacklist organisations like Canary Mission and Campus Watch, which directly threaten the safety, freedom of speech and academic freedom of their students and staff.

Campus Watch Responds:

Below are responses to two documents, numbered to correspond to the excerpts in the text box above: the Bull & Bear, "Legislative Council Discusses Anti-Surveillance Plan, Athletics Moratorium, and Divestment"; and "Motion Regarding the Creating of an Anti-Surveillance Master Plan within the SSMU [Student Society of McGill University]," the primary topic of the article.

1) The first sentence of the motion is demonstrably false. Campus Watch has never posted profiles of students, period, whatever their ethnicity, race, or religion, nor have we targeted any person for harassment for any reason. This may shock the authors, but we've never even heard of "Bill 21," "Coussa," or "Javed." Huh?

3) We have never, and would never, surveil students, intimidate them, blacklist them, or dox them (or anyone else). We challenge McGill's student government to prove us wrong. They can't, and they won't even try. As for targeting students: CW has never targeted students, and never will. In fact, students have come to us for advice and help when they are targeted by professors and administrators for exercising free speech in voicing independent views on controversial subjects.

4) Where are our blacklists? CW has never, and would never (are you seeing a pattern here?) threaten the "physical safety, freedom of speech and academic freedom" of anyone at any time. The contemptible charge that we are in any way racist is disgusting slander. Hyperbole and mendacity are poor substitutes for truth, but they're all SSMU has to offer.

5) Again (and again), CW has never doxxed or targeted anyone.

6) Being neither a blacklister nor a threat to anyone's safety, etc., we observe that the greatest threat to these students subjected are their warped idea of higher education's purpose. They are cheating themselves of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to think, learn, and grow up. Instead, they have created a system that celebrates intemperance, inaccuracy, and insecurity while punishing independence and the quest for wisdom.

By Winfield Myers, director of academic affairs at the Middle East Forum and director of its Campus Watch project.