A McGill University Student Newspaper Is Removing 'McGill' From Its Name

They're urging the school to do the same.

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​A student crosses Sherbrooke street outside McGill University's Roddick Gates.

A student crosses Sherbrooke street outside McGill University's Roddick Gates.

A McGill University student newspaper is scrubbing the school's founder from its name. Known as The McGill Tribune since 1981, the outlet will now publish simply as The Tribune. The editorial team is calling on the university to follow its lead.

"It was a gradual decision discussed over the course of the year internally, as the board editorialized on issues related to the university’s colonial practices and issues of systemic racism," Editor-in-Chief Madison McLauchlan told MTL Blog.

"The change has been effected on our website and social media. Our print issue is coming out [on Thursday] with the new name," she said.

The Tribune's bold rebrand comes as the school celebrates its bicentennial, which the paper notes sparked a $2 billion fundraising campaign to celebrate the institution's history and legacy while ignoring its racist origins.

In an April 12 op-ed, the paper detailed the troubled history of the university's namesake, James McGill, a slave owner who profited from the exploitation of Indigenous and Black people.

Continued use of the name "McGill" perpetuates the university's ties to colonialism and oppression, the students argue, adding that a name change would mark an important step toward reconciliation and decolonization.

It's a concept not unfamiliar to the university. In 2020, McGill changed the name of its men's varsity sports team from Redmen to Redbirds after Indigenous staff and students advocated for the removal of racist terminology.

Meanwhile, last year, Toronto Metropolitan University removed Ryerson from its name given Egerton Ryerson's connection to Canada's residential school system.

In response to The Tribune's call for action, McGill noted that the paper is separate from the university. "Like all student-run media outlets on campus, it is responsible for setting its own editorial policies," a university rep told MTL Blog.

Sofia Misenheimer
MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Sofia Misenheimer is an award-winning writer, editor and former radio journalist with a passion for finding hidden gems in the city.