On December 6, the Canadian Association of University Teachers joins with all Canadians in the remembrance of the tragic and violent events at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. On December 6th 1989, a lone gunman entered the school, declared his hatred for feminists, and shot and killed 14 women. We honour the memories of those women, their families, and all who have faced violence and threats.
Sadly, although this horrific event occurred 26 years ago, violence against women continues to be all too prevalent on Canadian campuses. Earlier this year, threats were made against feminists at the University of Toronto. Sexual violence and harassment continue to affect women and minority students and faculty, but are often overlooked and unreported. Violence and misogyny undermine human rights, academic freedom, and the teaching and learning environment.
Gender-based violence is rooted in systemic discrimination, and it is a collective responsibility to address it. We must work together to change the status quo by building an inclusive campus, speaking out against all forms of discrimination, and supporting those who report violence and harassment. Further, we must enforce the practice and principles of employment equity and equitable access to education, and incorporate diverse perspectives into the university and college culture.