McGill waited months before firing janitor who allegedly spied in bathrooms: students

Students at McGill University say the university waited months before taking action against a janitor who allegedly snuck into the bathroom to spy on them.

Courtney Smith, a post-doctoral graduate student at the university, said she was using the bathroom on the 13th floor of the McIntyre Building last December when the janitor quietly entered.

“I didn't know it was him at first. He would wait until you were in the stall and creep into the room,” she said.

Smith said it wasn't an isolated incident; the second time it happened, she said she surprised the man, who ran away.

But after filing a complaint with security, she said a supervisor told her nothing could be done.

“He said, 'We talked to the guy, but he said he didn't do it, so, too bad.' The next day, he was back on our floor,” she said.

Smith wasn't the only student who accused the employee of inappropriate conduct. At least three other female students came forward with similar stories.

One of those students shot a video showing a man pacing the floor while she was in a bathroom stall. In the video, the man can be seen crouching to look under the door.

Following that incident, the man was dismissed from his job. Smith said she and her colleagues are hoping their complaint will lead police to charge the former employee.

McGill officials declined interview requests but in a statement said the school “takes the issue of sexual harassment and assault very seriously and responds immediately when information is brought forward.”

“The university is not legally permitted to answer questions that would reveal personal information about any member of the McGill community.”

Smith, however, took issue with McGill's claims of taking allegations seriously.

“The comment the university made, that they take sexual harassment seriously and that they act upon it, are obviously not true,” she said. “I reported this in December and nothing happened until the last two weeks.”

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