On Dec. 6, 1989, 14 women were senselessly murdered at Montreal’s École Polytechnique and now, more than a quarter of a century later, Ontario universities mark International Women’s Day with renewed attention to raising awareness about sexual violence and harassment, enhancing prevention initiatives and to improving supports for survivors.
Today provides us not only with an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and to celebrate those advancements, but also to assess the challenges and barriers that women still face today.
Our daughters, our wives, our colleagues, and our students deserve to live in a more respectful and safe society.
To that end, universities welcome the passage of the Ontario government’s Sexual Violence and Harassment Act, and are already working to ensure campuses are safe, inclusive learning and working environments where everyone – students, faculty, staff and visitors – are treated with respect and dignity.
Universities have been and will continue to consult with students as they work to produce stand-alone policies on sexual violence. Their input is invaluable.
Ontario universities are committed to preventing sexual violence and ensuring survivors have a safe place to turn.
We must continue to work together to eradicate sexual violence and harassment on our campuses and beyond.
Together, we can stop violence against women.
COU President and CEO