The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario recognizes December 6th, the Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It has been over 30 years since the murder of 14 young women at École Polytechnique in Montréal, who were targeted on December 6th, 1989, simply for being women.
This December 6th, we remember Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, and all other victims of misogynistic and chauvinistic violence.
We, as students, remember on December 6th, this violent massacre against women at École Polytechnique in Montréal, and we seek further action against gender-based violence in the broader student struggle. We recognize that not only the work of students and workers calling for better policies addressing consent and sexual violence on campuses and in the workplace, but also the fight against this same sexism that we continue to see in academia, and the homophobia and transphobia that both students and workers continue to experience in the classroom and workplace.
During this academic year, students have seen an increase in reported sexual violence on campus, in particular on-campus residences. Students have long advocated for standalone sexual violence policies with programs for education and prevention, as well as reporting and investigation. Through the Consent is Mandatory campaign, students call for better action and funding for gender-based violence education and prevention. Additionally, students need support from college and university administrations through protection of their students’ unions’ autonomy to run student-led peer support programs.
Post-secondary institutions have an important role to play in challenging gender oppression throughout academia, workplaces and through campus culture. Students’ unions are vital to the work in educating and challenging gender-oppression at colleges and universities and call for more action and funding from both the provincial and federal governments.