Skip to main content

Student unions to address University of Waterloo attack Monday


Student unions from across Canada will speak Monday about what they say is the urgent need to create safer campuses, particularly for LGBTQ2S+ students.

The news conference comes nearly three weeks after a triple stabbing during a gender studies class at the University of Waterloo. Police say the accused planned and targeted the course and the attack was motivated by hate related to gender expression and gender identity.

President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Vivian Chiem said the stabbing was a “wake-up call” that more action is needed to create safe environments for two-spirit, and LGBTQ+ students on all campuses.

“This attack was a consequence of inaction that has been taken on this issue. We don’t want that to happen again and we just want to ensure that everyone can be safe and welcomed into any environment or space whether they come to [Wilfrid] Laurier [University] or Waterloo or wherever,” Chiem, who is also a Laurier student, said.

Student leaders plan to present calls to action on Monday, including the “Our Campus, Our Safety” action plan, which was released last year and aims to address sexual violence on campus.

Among steps that need to be taken, Chiem said listening to and amplifying the voices of staff and students already working in the area of gender-based violence and gender equity is especially important.

A community event takes place outside Hagey Hall at University of Waterloo on Thursday, June 29, 2023, the day after a stabbing attack during a gender studies class. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nicole Osborne

While many conversations in the wake of the attack have focused on security on campus, Chiem said they also want to look at the root-causes of the problem.

“We do believe in security, but it doesn’t always look like police,” she said. “There’s a bigger problem at hand that’s not just about the security failure, there’s anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric that’s going around and [we need to look at] how we can mitigate that.”

Monday’s news conference is hosted by the Canadian social change consultancy Possibility Seeds. It runs from 1 to 2 p.m. Top Stories

Stay Connected