Stand together in support and inclusion

A crowd is assembled in the Arts Quad listening to speakers presenting from step
A crowd is assembled in the Arts Quad listening to speakers presenting from steps of Dana Porter Library.
This week marks a year since a violent , hate-motivated attack took place during a gender issues lecture Hagey l. The anniversary brings back the same sense of shock that something so frightening and horrific could happen our campus. As more information has come to light through the legal proceedings, we have heard many disturbing details about the motivations of the attacker and the experiences of those in the classroom.

In the days that followed the attack, we saw our campus community come together to support one another. Today, year later, we remain committed to fostering inclusive, safe and welcoming environments for all members of our community while denouncing all forms of hate, discrimination and violence.

Last year’s attack targeted gender expression. As we close out Pride Month, today serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of standing with and supporting our 2S L GBTQIA+ community.

While we have made strides towards these goals, we have also heard from members of community about their experiences , and in some cases struggles and frustrations with the pace of change. As Provost Rush mentioned in his May 16 email to campus , Waterloo is in the process of building a strategy to support 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and communities through collaborations with those individuals and communities , has already hired additional staff wit hin the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism.

Since the attack, we have also reviewed and updated our campus safety and security protocols. A new emergency notification system will launch later this summer, and more cross-campus collaborations are being established to address communications and transparency.

As we mark one year since the attack, my thoughts are with the courageous individuals in the classroom , along with first responders who were quickly on the scene. No one should have to experience what they did. We also can’t forget those who were t directly involved but still traumatized by the attack. I encourage everyone in our community who needs support to use the resources available to you through Campus Wellness Employee and Family Assistance Program.

On Wednesday, the University’s Board of Governors endorsed our new institutional values. The values form the basis for significant culture change that we are commited to as an institution, particularly one that fosters and promotes inclusion of all members of the community. The Board also approved the creation of a new standing Committee on Community and Culture. This Committee will be responsible for oversight of the University’s culture, campus life, and student and employee experience.

These initiatives provide significant momentum in driving towards the changes that we seek. At the same time, we must recognize that culture change takes time and effort on all parts of the community. Culture change does not come from the top, it requires collaborative effo rt on all’our parts.

This week, we welcome delegates to " From Targeting in Academia to Promoting Trust and Understanding" Conference. This event focuses on the broad subject of responding to antagonistic and intimidating reactions to academic research and pedagogy. As I said after the event , ’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 truths. But we will not let this deter us from proclaiming loudly, our values of inclusion and openness.’

There is still work to be done to heal our collective wounds and foster inclusiveness and safety on our campuses. With your support, we will continue to work towards our on going commitments in these areas.
Vivek Goel