WUSA statement on the hate motivated attack at Hagey Hall

Published: Thursday, June 29, 2023

July 7th, 2023 Update

It’s been over a week since the traumatic hate-motivated attack related to gender expression and gender identity at Hagey Hall on UWaterloo’s main campus and we committed to keeping you updated on our actions.

Since last week we have tuned in, listened to feedback and are preparing to set up meetings with the University to address member safety on campus. Our overarching goal is to connect with the University and have important discussions on efficient emergency response systems, student safety, and welfare both on the Senate level and internally through the University of Waterloo. As these meetings take place and ongoing work is directed to addressing member safety on campus, we will continue to update you with our progress and developments.

We must stand together to denounce threats, hate and violence against 2SLGBTQIA+ members of our communities!

We know this is not an isolated incident as we continue to see an increase in attacks on gender identity, gender equality, and gender expression. Human rights groups have been sounding the alarm showing the connections between the separate events and we ask that you pay attention to legislation, by-laws and other bills that are being passed in your communities and beyond if you haven’t been already.

As your Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association, we will continue to advocate for a supportive, civil society that respects and upholds diversity, thriving equity initiatives and human rights for all.

Our work will be driven by the vision of an inclusive, caring, loving, and thriving campus community!

Original Statement: Published Friday, June 30

It’s been over a week since the traumatic hate motivated attack related to gender expression and gender identity at Hagey Hall on UWaterloo’s main campus and we committed to keeping you updated on our actions.

Since last week we have tuned in, listened to feedback and are preparing to set up meetings with the University to address member safety on campus. Our overarching goal is to connect with the University and have important discussions on efficient emergency response systems, student safety, and welfare both on the Senate level and internally through the University of Waterloo. As these meetings take place and ongoing work is directed to addressing member safety on campus, we will continue to update you with our progress and developments.

We must stand together to denounce threats, hate and violence against 2SLGBTQIA+ members of our communities!

We know this is not an isolated incident as we continue to see an increase in attacks on gender identity, gender equality, and gender expression. Human rights groups have been sounding the alarm showing the connections between the separate events and we ask that you pay attention to legislation, by-laws and other bills that are being passed in your communities and beyond if you haven’t been already.

As your Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association, we will continue to advocate for a supportive, civil society that respects and upholds diversity, thriving equity initiatives and human rights for all.

Our work will be driven by the vision of an inclusive, caring, loving, and thriving campus community!

WUSA would like to acknowledge and resonate with the emotions our members and the entire Waterloo community are feeling following the traumatic, hate motivated attack that occurred at Hagey Hall. 

This is a tragic time for our community, and an especially challenging time for those who are marginalized by our society. Acts of hatred, prejudice and violence have no place on campus, and we are saddened by the impact this has on the victims, witnesses, and our community.  

WUSA commits to supporting, standing beside, and advocating for our members on matters of safety, equity, and inclusion. We shall grieve with you and be with you days, weeks, and months after this attack. 

As a community, it is not only our duty to be each other’s allies, but also each other’s strongest supporters. Conversations addressing student safety will continue at WUSA. As we process this hate-motivated act of violence, we commit to addressing hate and discrimination through discussions, data collection and advocacy work over the coming weeks and beyond. 

We need to be here for each other and will work together to address the concerns we’re hearing about a divided and limited community at UWaterloo, the inefficient emergency response system and the inability to prioritize empathy first in messaging to staff and students. This is our time to grieve but also an opportunity to come together to respond and act. 

In the short-term WUSA commits to: 

  • Connecting with the Provost to share student concerns about emergency response, communications and safety on campus. Probe for information, updates, and progress regarding the emergency response system and processes. 
  • Connecting with students, hearing concerns, and listening to feedback about our UW community and how it responds to emerging issues. 
  • Inquiring about the gaps in student safety on campus. 
  • Working with the institution to create more inclusive, safe campus spaces. 
  • Identifying opportunities to provide immediate student support. 

In the long-term WUSA commits to: 

  • Further investigating the safety of our operations and spaces. 
  • Ongoing research and conversations to ensure that our advocacy work and operational efforts reflect our goals of prioritizing student safety and inclusion within our campus community. 
  • Creating space for conversations, both formally and informally to encourage community and a sense of safety within WUSA and UWaterloo.  

Due to the targeted nature of this hate motivated act, WUSA’s peer support services will be unavailable as the students in those roles need time to process this violence before they feel safe to support our members again. We will update members as soon as WUSA peer-support services become available. Empower Me is a call or click away and other drop-in counselling sessions and off-campus counselling have been made available. 

Empower Me
Empower Me allows students to connect with qualified counsellors, consultants, and life coaches.  Sessions are delivered in person, by telephone, or by video-counselling. Their services are multilingual and culturally, gender and faith inclusive.  

Drop-In Counselling
In person: Counselling Services, 2nd Floor Needles Hall, 2:30-3:30pm
Virtual: 5:00-6:00pm, please email counselling@uwaterloo.ca to request a private link for the virtual drop in. Please note Drop-in sessions are not debriefs. The drop-in is a chance to be with other students impacted by this incident, support each other and have access to a mental health professional’s support. 

Critical Incident Debrief for Queer and Trans Folks
This session will be offsite at a community location for students who have shared they do not feel safe to be on campus.
Location: Spectrum; 283 Duke St. W, unit 210, Kitchener, ON. The back entrance is an accessible entrance. Session will be facilitated by UW’s Counsellors 

We recognize this is the first time you have heard from us about this attack, outside of the University’s statements we shared yesterday. When it comes to communicating a crisis on campus, we often take the lead of the university or government, aim to fully understand the scope and details of the situation, and stay informed of the situation through various means, then report back to members with facts, supports and next steps.  

We will be reviewing our response process in the coming weeks so that we can strengthen our readiness to ensure our undergraduate members are properly informed and supported. 

Please take loving care of yourselves and each other and remember, support is available if needed. 

 

Rory Norris, WUSA President 

Katie Traynor, WUSA Vice President 

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