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Letter to the Community

Jul. 07, 2023

It has been a little more than a week since the hateful and shocking attack on a professor and students at the University of Waterloo in a gender issues class, and we remain shaken and outraged at this targeted, hate-motivated violent incident. I have connected with President Vivek Goel (UWaterloo) to share our support, and he asked me to communicate his personal gratitude. I have also signed an open letter in solidarity with our colleagues.

On behalf of our Vic U community, I want to unequivocally condemn this attack and all gender-based violence. We stand in solidarity with the University of Waterloo, and in particular with everyone who was in the classroom on that terrible day.

In recent weeks, Ken Chan, our CAO, and I spoke about the need to evaluate and consider how we can strengthen our emergency preparedness, security and supports here at Vic U. This work, led by Ken, is already underway and will be a consultative and collaborative process. A dialogue about how to strengthen supports and safety for people of all gender expressions and identities in particular, will be important to fulfilling our promise of a community where everyone feels they belong.

The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, librarians and staff is always a priority. While we reflect on the abhorrent nature of this incident, we should also take the time to reflect on the fact that we are part of a vibrant community committed to unrelentingly asking questions and challenging the status quo to make the world a better place. We are a community of learners and teachers who explore and propel big ideas, and bridge differences through deeper understanding and connections. There is no more potent tool for combatting hatred than this.

Here are some resources and ways to express your solidarity: 


Dr. Rhonda N. McEwen
President and Vice-Chancellor
Victoria University in the University of Toronto

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