UNB News
News and stories from one of Canada’s top universities

UNB recognizes National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Dec 4, 2020

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

The University of New Brunswick community will recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, on Sunday, Dec. 6, with a series of virtual events.

The day marks the anniversary of the murder of 14 women, many of whom were engineering students, on Dec. 6, 1989, at École Polytechnique in Montréal.

UNB remembers the women whose lives were taken in this senseless act of gender-based violence, their families and everyone affected by the tragedy.

Given the current COVID-19 restrictions, memorial events will not be taking place on campus. Instead, the UNB community has prepared a number of digital resources that will be shared on Sunday, Dec. 6, to remember the women whose lives were taken, and to allow for reflection on the current issues relating to gender-based violence.

At UNB Fredericton, UNB Diversity Within Engineering has created a video that explains the significance of this day and includes readings of the poems written for the 14 women. This will be shared through their social media channels, as well as the UNB Student Union social media channels, on Sunday.

"It's important to not only remember the 14 women who were murdered at École Polytechnique 31 years ago, but to also remember why it happened,” explains Leah Crossley, President of UNB Diversity Within Engineering. “Violence against women is an ongoing problem in today's society; 86 per cent of those reporting sexual violence to the UNB Campus Sexual Assault Support Advocates identified as female in 2018-2019. This is why it is so important that we remember the Montreal Massacre, for the 14 women and all the others who have lost their lives to gender-based violence, and for those who are still fighting it today."

At UNB Saint John, the Students’ Representative Council’s (SRC) Dec. 6 Volunteers’ Committee has created a video which shares details of the lives of the women who were lost that day, as well as reflections on the meaning of Dec. 6 told by UNB SJ students. The SRC will be sharing this through their social media channels on Sunday.

"Here in Saint John, we have always commemorated the tragedy of Dec. 6, 1989, as a community-wide event, because these young women were not just students, they were members of families, and members of the community too,” explains Dr. Chris Doran, professor of sociology and part of the Dec. 6 Volunteers’ Committee. “It is especially important to remember them this year, despite the pandemic preventing us from having our usual outdoor, uptown vigil. What we have seen since the first lockdown in March is that violence against women has increased significantly during this pandemic.”

“Despite the challenges we face with COVID-19 in limiting our ability to come together in solemnity, it is important – indeed, imperative – that we acknowledge and come together virtually to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women,” says Dr. Paul Mazerolle, president and vice-chancellor of UNB. “UNB remembers these women, their families and all those who were impacted by this horrific act of violence.

“The anniversary of this senseless tragedy is not only an opportunity to commemorate these 14 innocent women, but also illustrates the importance of acknowledging all victims of gender-based violence and to re-commit ourselves and our institutions to do more to prevent its occurrence.”

Media contact: Fiona Hendrie

Photo: UNB community members gathering in 2019 to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. There is no event this year due to COVID regulations, however the SRC and UNB Diversity in Engineering are posting separate videos to their social media channels on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre. Credit: Eric Weissman.