West Indian medical students protest admission quotas

In 1916, a group of West Indian medical students rallied the Gamma Medical League to protest and petition the Board of Governors over “quotas” put in place by McGill’s Faculty of Medicine.   

At this point in McGill’s history, Black students could enroll in the Faculty, but were required to undergo their obstetrical training elsewhere, as the Montreal Maternity Hospital did not allow Black students to train there. Additionally, strict quotas limited their attendance. 

On October 21, 1916, the League sent a petition to the McGill administration, but their demands were not acknowledged until 1917, when the University promised that work was underway to fix the problem. Still, the League did not see any changes, so they went to the press in the West Indies, which led to the involvement of West Indian governments. Unfortunately, they were unable to sway McGill, and the quotas remained in place.