Hate has no place here
A message from the Office of the President
A transcript of President Goel's remarks from the June 29, 2023 Community Gathering that took place in the Arts Quad is below.
Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for gathering here with us today.
As we start, it is important to reflect in and knowledge the University of Waterloo's campuses in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge are situated on the Haldimand Tract, land 6 miles on each side of the Grand River granted to the Haudenosaunee of Six Nations. The land inside and surrounding the Haldimand Tract, including our Stratford campus is the traditional territory of the Attawandaron, Anishinaabe, and Haudenosaunee. I also acknowledge and recognize this area is now home to many diverse First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Yesterday, three members of our community were violently attacked in a horrific act that targeted gender expression and identity.
It is unimaginable that hate exists in some people's hearts.
We gather now as a community to affirm that hate has no place here.
We are united against all forms of violence, hatred and bigotry.
We are committed to fostering an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for members of our community… Denouncing all forms of hate, discrimination and violence.
There are those who would like to intimidate us. They want us to be afraid. Afraid to learn. Afraid to share. Afraid to speak our truth. But we will not let them deter us from proclaiming loudly our values of inclusion and openness.
We are a close knit community. We are a strong, diverse and supportive community.
I've been overwhelmed by how many people from across our community, across the country have been reaching out to offer their support.
I'm pleased that we're joined today by member of Parliament Valerie Bradford, Member of Parliament. Tim Louis, Member Provincial Parliament Laura Mae Lindo, Regional Chair Karen Redman, Mayor of Waterloo Dorothy McCabe. Mayor of Kitchener Berry Vrbanovic, and members from both city councils.
We thank our community partners and grassroot organizations that support our students, our employees and our community every day and who have joined us here.
I'm very grateful to the role that the Waterloo Region Police Service and our Special Constable Services played in handling the attack yesterday.
Thank you to Chief Mark Crowell for your support personally and for being here with us with your team today.
We also thank the Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services and the IMPACT Mental Health teams that provided aid to the victims and those affected by the tragedy. I'm pleased they, too, could join us here in solidarity.
Thank you to everyone that has supported us, that continue to protect us. We look out for one another here and support one another, especially at times like this.
Through the shock and trauma of hate-motivated violence like yesterday, we must move forward in healing and community care.
If you need to take some time away from work or your studies for self-care, please do that. Your managers and instructors will do everything they can to support you.
Everyone is processing the events of yesterday in their own way.
Campus community members who identify as Two Spirit, trans non-binary, queer, gender non-conforming and women will likely be disproportionately impacted by these events and may require additional space support, time away and accommodations.
Please be kind to each other and support each other through this difficult time.
Yesterday's attack happened at this time. A Philosophy Professor and two students in their Gender Studies class were attacked because they were exploring issues related to gender in our society.
We will take a moment of silence now to reflect on the strategy and focus our thoughts on healing, both for the victims of the attack and our community.
[Moment of silence]
This was a hate-filled attack. Targeting our people on the basis of a hateful view of gender expression and identity. That this happened, too, at the end of Pride Month is all the more painful. So, in a sign of our continued support to our 2SLGBTQIA+ community members, and in recognition that these community members will likely be disproportionately impacted by the hate-motivated violence, our Pride and Two-Spirit flags will stay in place until the end of July.
Let these flags be a visible reminder that you are loved, and that you all belong here — no matter who you are.
Today we can be assured that our campuses are safe, but not without ever-present risks.
We find ourselves in a world that is increasingly polarized. A world that is grappling with the acceptance of different gender expressions and identities.
So what we all do now in response to an attack motivated by hate will resonate globally. It is so important that we are solid. That we uphold our values. That we love one another. And that we push for change.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within our Office of Indigenous Relations.