From the President’s Desk: No place for gender-based oppression and violence

On behalf of the University of Alberta, President Flanagan reflects on the death of Mahsa Amini, expressing support for those who have taken courageous steps in the pursuit of human dignity for all.

Aerial view of North Campus Quad

Last week our campuses were an example of everything that a vibrant learning environment should be. Beyond various celebrations on campus, Sept. 19’s meeting of the General Faculties Council featured a critical discussion around the anticipated adoption of new policies and practices to address sexual and gender-based violence. Later in the week, the Iranian Students’ Association honoured the life of Mahsa Amini by erecting a vigil at the PS752 Memorial Bench. Members of our Iranian community and supporters of human rights also gathered in the quad to honour Ms. Amini, speak out about her death, and rally for all women who face oppression.  

Gender-based oppression and violence touches each of us; we can see its harms and can feel the pain that it causes. It has no place in society. We stand together with those who condemn it and are striving every day to take action against it. To all those who have spoken out, who have reflected, and who have made steps big or small in pursuit of human dignity for all: on behalf of the University of Alberta, our community is with you.  

In the coming months, the U of A community will continue to reflect on this important issue. Starting on Nov. 25, I encourage community members to take part in the UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. As a community, we will also pause on Dec. 6 to reflect on the gains and challenges that are highlighted by the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

To U of A students, faculty, staff and community members that have been impacted by recent events or gender-based violence, please know that there are campus and local resources available to support you. Visit the Sexual Violence Information and Resources website to learn more

Bill Flanagan
President and Vice-Chancellor