'Punch a Zionist' McGill student politician rebuffs calls to resign

The Students’ Society of McGill University has asked for the resignation of student politician Igor Sadikov following a tweet he sent out stating “punch a [Z]ionist today.”

Liberal MP says new student politicians needed to replace those unwilling to impeach Igor Sadikov

McGill University student Igor Sadikov's tweet has prompted calls for his resignation. (Paul Lowry/Flickr)

The executive committee of the Students' Society of McGill University has asked for the resignation of student politician Igor Sadikov following a tweet he sent out stating "punch a [Z]ionist today."

Sadikov, 22, sent the tweet out Feb. 6 from his personal twitter account and deleted it three days later.

Since then, the SSMU board of directors rejected a motion to impeach Sadikov but following that, the SSMU executive committee requested his resignation.

The SSMU made the request on the grounds he was inciting violence, although Sadikov alleges the executive committee was pressured by the administration.

"We believe that councillor Sadikov's actions were an incitement of violence and, for that reason alone, we have recommended that he resign," the statement read.

Sadikov's tweet was posted Monday and deleted later in the week. (Twitter)

Administration meddling?

Sadikov said the request is an example of McGill's administration meddling in student politics.

"This is because of threats being made by the principal to the SSMU executives," he said.

McGill principal Suzanne Fortier issued a statement confirming that the administration intervened.

She said that she, and several other administrators, met with the executive committee of the SSMU to remind them of their obligation to ensure student leadership abide by their own code of ethics. 

"We also shared our strong belief that the SSMU executive should ask for the resignation of its board member, Igor Sadikov, who recently sent a tweet inciting violence against a specific group," Fortier said.

"While we normally do not recommend a course of action to the SSMU leadership, this situation is exceptional."

The SSMU executive denies it was pressured by the university to call for Sadikov's resignation.

SSMU VP of Operations Sacha Lefebvre Magder stressed that violence is wrong.

"And incitements of violence are equally wrong, and in our view that is plain and simple," he said.

Resignation 'excessive'

Sadikov sits on the legislative councils of the SSMU and the Arts Undergraduate Society, as well as on the board of directors — the SSMU's chief governing body.

He said he did not plan on resigning at this time but would go through the procedures in place to determine if he's fit to serve as a student representative.

"It's something that I have to be accountable for," he said of the tweet.

"However, there's also an understanding that removal from the position is an excessive measure."

MP 'horrified'

Liberal MP for Mount Royal and former Côte Saint-Luc mayor Anthony Housefather said Sadikov's actions don't represent the university he graduated from.

He said he was horrified not only about the tweet but that the student politician was unapologetic afterward and continues to hold office.

"I think he's a symbol of a much larger problem here at McGill," Housefather told CBC News after an event for Hillel Montreal.

He said he and other MPs are willing to join McGill students to help see a new group of student politicians take office since the current board has been unwilling to take action following the tweet.

"Next election, a different group of people needs to be elected."