Introduction and Timeline


The narrative of student activism in Quebec is complex and has a rich history, and this is our attempt at passing that history on through a public forum. By beginning with the personal archival material of former McGill Principal H. Rocke Robertson, we have pieced together the story of the major student protests that took place in Quebec in the 1960s.

We examine the student side of the protest movement, including their goals and strategies. We also look at the administration through a biography of Principal Robertson and an examination of what action the administration took surrounding the movement. Student activism does not exist in a local vacuum, so we look at the global context of student activism as well.

Finally, we attempt to place the student movement of the 1960s within the larger temporal context of student activism in Quebec by comparing it to an event many of us are familiar with: the Quebec student protests in 2012. A comparison of events and results is followed by a comprehensive look at the nature and role of McGill Daily in both the 1960s and in 2012. The goal is for these comparisons to help modern audiences understand the legacy of the 1960s protests.

The student protests in Quebec in the late 1960s were a key moment in student activism that showed Canadians, Quebec residents and the students themselves how powerful student movements can be and how mobilized students can really be. We hope you enjoy our public history.


1960s Montreal Student Protests: A Timeline

Date Happenings
October 1967 SGWU strike for greater role in running of university — > proposal to admit 4 student members as voting members
November 1967 Fekete article published, excerpts are seen as offensive.

Robertson urges council to exercise tighter control over daily

Debates about changing Daily’s structure

Student organizations reprint Fekete article as pamphlet on campus

300 students occupy administration building

Students occupy Principle’s private office, police arrests three

1000 students hold rally

Council removes Gray from SDU-chair

Fekete brings in lawyers and starts a legal battle with the university

Stanley Gray calls for student collective action

Poll about strike, but most students vote against

December 1967 Gray before municipal court

ASUS resolution to grant support for Fekete before Superior Court in Quebec

Court rejects petition for writ of evocation

January1968 Support for UGEQ to protest in Quebec City

Students at Waterloo University boycott classes

2000 students protest in Quebec

February1968 Fekete suspended for walking out of Senate Committee when the administration refused to televise proceedings. Student society gives him public support

Radio McGill charged with sloppy production at a council meeting, they vote to change the method of selecting manager and increase administration control

Universite De Montreal students protests

March 1968 Fekete defends Bol Weevils article

A mass demonstration in Quebec for more financial assistance is planned — > government gives quick grant and the demonstration is cancelled

September 1968 Quebec student loans cut by four million dollars
October 1968 Different departments organize associations to bring democracy to their departmental structure and initiate plans for greater student participation

CEGEP students protest. McGill Students Council passes resolution to support them

15 students do sit in at Sir George William to support CEGEPs

10 000 students march in Quebec

CEGEPs return to classes

10 000 march in Montreal downtown

November 1968 Senate refuses Student Council request for all research information to be made public

Bill 57: guidelines for composition of University Council

Occupation at Simon Frazer University

Boycotts of classes by Political Science and Architecture students

PSA occupies Leacock


January 1969 Philosophy faculty accepts proposal for democratization

Students walk in in senate nominating committee meeting

Board of Governors meeting: 150 students walk in and refuse to leave

Occupation of Computer Science office

Sir George William campus: students occupy computer center and McGill students join

February 1969 SGWU strike and principals call police — > Arresting of 94 students at SGWU and the protest results in fire and physical damage
September  1969 Robertson announces intention to resign
October 1969 Loyola students vote to strike

Article in the Montreal Star accuses McGill administration of pressuring a McGill student reporter not to publish article about Gray affair

November 1969 Bomb explosion at Loyola
January 1970 Students from SGWU go on trial for damage of computers
February 1970 Gray Hearing begins — > Council  state there no adequate cause for dismissal

Gray charged by Robertson of affecting well-being of McGill University

UDM student strike

March1970 New chancellor appointed