Dear Colleagues, 

I am writing to you about the profoundly distressing news that a professor and two students were stabbed yesterday in a hate-motivated attack at the University of Waterloo. The attack occurred in an undergraduate gender studies course while class was in session; investigators have announced it was a hate-motivated incident. AASUA condemns this attack — there is no space on university campuses for hate, and it is paramount that students, and all university staff are safe as they teach, research, and learn. 

Our hearts are heavy with grief for the victims of this attack, including UWaterloo faculty member Professor Katy Fulfer and two students. We wish them a full recovery. And we send them, their loved ones, and their colleagues our full support and solidarity. 

Our own university is a space of crucial research and teaching focused on gender and sexuality. While we continue to emphasize to the Employer its responsibility to ensure all members of our university community are safe from harassment and violence, this horrific event demonstrates the special protection those specifically involved in this important work and members of our 2SLGBTQ+ community, need at this time. We would urge the Employer to be pro-active — to undertake some of the actions the University of Waterloo is looking at post-facto (for example, the effectiveness of its emergency security system), now.

We all must actively work towards confronting the rising tide of hate and extremism targeting both gender studies and anti-racism courses. Our universities are spaces for learning and discovery, and that work cannot take place unless we are bold and proactive in our opposition to hate. 

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the national organization representing academic staff across Canada, has also released a strong statement in our collective name condemning the attack.   

Gordon Swaters
AASUA President