McGill asks for right to turn down information requests
McGill University has asked the province's commission in charge of access to information for the permission to turn down future requests from students who repeatedly demand information.
The school is refusing to release documents requested by 14 students.
"A couple of us filed a couple of requests to better know what McGill is actually doing and what sort of research it's engaging in," said Christopher Bangs, the author of McGilliLeaked, a website investigating the school's administration.
University spokeswoman Julie Fortier said the school is standing by its request because the students' demand would disrupt operations at the school. She said Bangs and 13 other people are abusing the system. Fortier said the requests involved several large demands.
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."
"They want all documents, or all memos, or all emails related to possible agreements or discussions with 30 companies, so it's quite excessive," she said.
Law expert Julius Grey said McGill has the right to defend itself on a case-by-case basis, but its attempt to turn down future requests goes too far.
"I certainly would be aghast if they were able to preclude in advance demands by students and others who are not in agreement with the corporate university to obtain that sort of information," Grey said.
Fortier said requests for access to information jumped from 37 to 170 between 2011 and 2012.