Students and staff meet to discuss anti-female posters
University of Waterloo campus police, staff and over a hundred students and community members met Friday to discuss the posters, which are now part of a criminal investigation.
Student Anne Marie Begin told the meeting, "For a lot of people this has highlighted the fact that every day this campus is not safe."
Now staff and students are sharing the anger, fear and frustration that has resulted, and how they hope the situation will be handled.
The posters were put up around campus last week, covering the student election campaign signs of female candidates. The image was also sent in a fake email claiming to be from the university's president.
The image of Marie Curie included a message that read ""THE TRUTH. The brightest Woman this Earth ever created was Marie Curie, The mother of the Nuclear Bomb. You tell me if the plan of Women leading Men is still a good idea."
Dan Anderson, director of University of Waterloo (UW) Police Services, says "Both of these acts we view as criminal. The act of putting the posters up, we view as mischief. The act of sending the message out under the president's name is impersonation under the criminal code."
The criminal acts are a cause for concern for a number of campus groups, especially those representing women.
Sukriti Nagpal is a volunteer at the UW Women's Centre. She says they kept the doors at the centre closed Friday "mainly for the safety, because of the posters, then the email, and then the Facebook thing that showed up. It's kind of like, almost scary."
Some have gone so far as to say the anti-feminist sentiment is almost as scary as what led to the deadly Montreal Massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1989.
Begin says "It's the same ideology underlying the Montreal Massacre as underlying these posters, and the Facebook and email that women shouldn't be leaders, women shouldn't be at university."
Cathleen DiFruscio is also a volunteer at the Women's Centre, she says "The events of the Montreal Massacre sort of escalated in a similar way. And again, these things don't come out of nowhere. So it's a fair concern to say that things could escalate."
Campus police say they are doing their best to track down the person or people responsible.
Anderson says "We are using forensics to see if we can identify who is hanging them up that way. We have a number of cameras, quite a number of cameras on campus. We're reviewing videotape to see if we can, again, identify who's hanging them up."
If a student is responsible, campus police say he or she could be expelled.
In the meantime police say they have cameras set up and help lines available across campus, and officers are conducting extra patrols in the school's buildings.