COPE Ontario Statement on the Stabbing at University of Waterloo
On Wednesday, a Professor in the Gender Studies and Social Justice department at the University of Waterloo, along with two young students, was attacked and stabbed by a 24-year-old former student. The attacker hid in plain sight among the other students.
COPE Ontario extends its deepest sympathies to the victims of this attack and condemns this heinous act in no uncertain terms. We believe that all workers have the right to work in a safe workplace, all students have a right to a safe classroom, and all people have a right to express their identity without the threat of violence.
COPE Ontario also believes that, in order to meaningfully address such a horrible act, we must not view it in isolation but, instead, look at its broader context.
We must acknowledge that this attack took place during Pride month and was motivated by the attacker’s hatred of gender expression and gender identity. As we noted during our Pride month statement, there has been a rise in hate crimes targeting sexual orientation across Canada since 2020. The rights of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are frequently under attack and the attack in Waterloo is, sadly, only one example of the threats that the 2SLGBTQIA+ community face on a daily basis. As members of a union spanning across a wide variety of public and private sectors, we must continue the fight to eliminate hate and inequalities from our workplaces, our communities and in all areas of society.
In the aftermath of the murder of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989, Canadians not only debated violence against women and gun control laws but, also, the ways in which the spread of anti-feminist rhetoric contributed to the massacre. The attack at the University of Waterloo shows us that this anti-feminist rhetoric continues to persist and harm those who work to challenge it and make positive change.
At a moment in time when the rights of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and women are continuously under attack, COPE Ontario is in solidarity with Professor Fulfer and the two students who remain in serious but non-life threatening condition. We not only condemn Wednesday's attack but also the systems and policies that emboldened the attacker.
An injury to one is an injury to all.
|Patty Clancy, Director, COPE Ontario||Lorrie Vanderslius, President, COPE Ontario|