Out of respect for the 200 people who came to mark the start of Pride month, President Goel stepped off the stage when disrupted by protestors. We are sharing the remarks he would have shared then. We support our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and wish them a happy Pride.

Pride Month Flag Raising – President's Remarks

Good morning everyone. 

I’m Vivek Goel. My pronouns are he/him. 

Today we mark the beginning of Pride Month on our campuses-- a time to celebrate the incredible diversity of the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities on campus and beyond. 

This year, the University of Waterloo is proud to continue our tradition of raising the Intersex-Inclusive Progress flag, alongside the Two-Spirit Pride flag, the latter of which we raised for the first time on our campus last year.  

Both flags reflect the intersectional work being done across our institution to ensure that everyone at Waterloo feels seen, valued, and respected.   

When I think of Pride, I think of the students, faculty, staff, and alumni who bring their unique selves and experiences to the University and to our broader Region—whether they are Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual or other sexual and gender-diverse identities.  

All enrich our community and contribute to our diversity that makes us stronger. 

While Pride Month is a time for celebration and joy, it is also important that we stand in solidarity with 2SLGBTQIA+ students, faculty, staff and alumni throughout the year.  

Image from behind the stage of Washington Silk at microphone addressing crowd and a rainbow goose in foreground

Remembering Hagey Hall and taking action 

It has been a particularly challenging year for many in these communities.  

This year's Pride celebrations are tinged with the memory of last year's horrific hate-motivated attack in Hagey Hall that targeted gender expression and identity. 

The attack was a stark reminder of the work we still need to do to ensure the safety and freedom for us all to be ourselves.  

Over the past year, we've heard the concerns of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities regarding the attack and our response. 

On behalf of the University, I want to acknowledge that some in our community have expressed pain and frustration with the institution—and with deep regret, we acknowledge that progress on some of our commitments has been slow.  

Today, we reiterate the University’s ongoing dedication to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone belongs. This includes supporting individual rights to freedom of expression and assembly (including the right to demonstrate or protest.) 

We are committed to removing barriers and fostering cultural change. 

I’d like to thank the many groups across our campuses who continue to advance this important work, including the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism.  

A lot of important work in supporting our community has been happening at the grassroots level through groups such as the Glow Centre, the Queer-Trans Alliance, EngiQueers, QTPOC KW, Waterloo Womxn + Nonbinary Wednesdays and community organizations like Spectrum, among others.   

I thank all of you for your commitment and continued work. 

Ultimately, creating a truly supportive community requires all of us to play a part. 

Looking Forward 

Cedar Hill Drummers watch as Pride and Two-Spirit flags are raised

As highlighted in our Waterloo at 100 vision for the university, we have a responsibility to ensure everyone at UWaterloo thrives. 

Pride Month reminds us of the ongoing fight for social justice and the importance of open dialogue, listening and learning. Because when we learn from each other, barriers crumble. 

Let's celebrate our collective progress and continue working towards a more equitable future.