Western University walkout advocates against gender-based violence on campus
Western University students participated in a nationwide walkout advocating against gender-based violence on post-secondary campuses Monday.
The Safe Campus Coalition group had events organized beginning Monday afternoon with opening remarks at the university college hill, followed by a moment of silence led by the Faculty of Engineering’s Allison Preyde.
Students walked across campus to promote change and to raise awareness that this type of violence is still common at universities.
Students were also commemorating the 14 victims who were killed in the École Polytechnique massacre 32 years ago.
Students chose to honour the women who died with a moment of silence, followed by reading all of their names.
On Dec. 6, 1989, a man opened fire in a classroom, killing 14 women, many of whom were engineering students.
Danica Facca, a PhD student with the Safe Campus Coalition said, “It’s definitely going to take time but at the very least we’re hoping that something like this can generate a nationwide conversation.”
During opening remarks on Monday, some students shared that they had been touched by this issue and wanted others to know they’re not alone.
Ziyana Kotadia, the vice president of university affairs for Western's University Students' Council spoke before the walk.
“My own relationship with rape culture and experiences with sexual and gender-based violence are deeply personal as they are for many of us today," she said.
In September, students walked out over after numerous allegations of sexual assaults were reported at a first-year residence at Western.
“Following that walkout, we decided that more work needed to be done nationwide across different sectors,” said Effie Sapuridis, who is with the coalition.
In a statement, the university said that it is not immune to these issues and that it is committed to taking action to eliminate gender-based violence on campus.