Igor Sadikov, the McGill University student under fire for his “punch a Zionist today” tweet more than a month ago, resigned his last remaining student government post, thereby pre-empting a vote by his peers on his removal.
On March 8, Sadikov stepped down from his position as arts representative on the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) legislative council, a day before that body was set to debate a motion to impeach him. The action was “for impropriety and for violation of the provisions of the [SSMU] constitution” related to the tweet.
Sadikov cited “personal reasons related to mental health” for his decision to go.
On Feb. 23, when the council motion was tabled, the third-year mathematics and political science student resigned from the SSMU board of directors, claiming pressure was being exerted by the university administration.
He apparently is not elaborating on his final departure, and even the McGill Daily of which he is a former news editor and frequent contributor, could not reach him for comment. He also didn’t comment about the resignation on his social media accounts.
It was on his personal Twitter account on Feb. 6 that Sadikov posted the infamous tweet, for which he apologized, calling it an ill-considered joke. While he is anti-Zionist, Sadikov described himself as Jewish and noted that his parents are Zionists, and he vowed to gain a better understanding of differing views on the political philosophy.
Nevertheless, pro-Israel groups on and off campus continued to call for his ouster, decrying the tweet as hateful and an incitement to violence, and they were unconvinced Sadikov had shown true remorse.
Both the Daily and another student newspaper, the McGill Tribune, reported that Sadikov’s March 8 resignation came days after allegations emerged that he had been psychologically abusive in a past relationship with another McGill student.
The day after, SSMU president Ben Ger also resigned, citing personal reasons.
There was little time remaining in their one-year terms. The SSMU is in the midst of executive elections, with results to be announced March 16 and the winners to take office on May 1, or possibly earlier, given the rash of resignations in the past few weeks. (Two other directors also left.)
On Feb. 22, the Arts Undergraduate Society voted not to oust Sadikov, while nine days earlier, the board of directors defeated an impeachment motion, but did formally censure Sadikov. On Feb. 15, following a meeting convened by McGill principal Suzanne Fortier, the SSMU executive “recommended” that Sadikov stand down.
The SSMU legislative council is composed of 30 elected representatives of undergraduates at the downtown campus. While the board is technically the highest authority, it is expected to follow the recommendations of the council.
Meanwhile, names continue to be added to an online petition demanding that Sadikov be expelled from McGill for incitement to violence. It was launched last month by Montrealer Murray Levine, who identifies himself as an activist and fundraiser who attended McGill.
By March 10, there were more than 2,000 signatures, the most recent having been added that day. The majority appear to be from outside the McGill community, and some even from outside Canada.
Levine said that when 3,000 names are collected, the petition will be presented to principal Fortier. In an email to The CJN, Levine said “quite a few” of the commenters on the petition “have told McGill that they won’t donate” to a recent alumni fundraising drive.