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Engineering students, faculty, and staff mark École Polytechnique shooting anniversary

Students, faculty, and staff gathered to remember the 1989 school shooting, which primarily targeted female students in engineering programs.

If the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre were alive today, they would be old enough to have children graduating university.

Despite the time that has passed, Engineering student Emily Nunn (Sci’18) says remembering the event and what it represented continues to be important.

“The women killed, if they were still alive today, would have careers and families of their own, but tragically those lives were taken from this Earth before their time for no reason other than they were women,” says Ms. Nunn, one of the organizers of the memorial ceremony at Queen’s. “The event personally means to me that we remember this happened, and fight to make sure it doesn't again.”

  • Students, faculty, and staff gathered in Beamish-Munro Hall for the memorial event. (Supplied Photo)
    Students, faculty, and staff gathered in Beamish-Munro Hall for the memorial event. (Supplied Photo)
  • The EngChoir sings as part of ceremonies remembering each of the 14 women killed on Dec. 6, 1989. (Supplied Photo)
    The EngChoir sings as part of ceremonies remembering each of the 14 women killed on Dec. 6, 1989. (Supplied Photo)
  • Biographies of each victim were read, and a candle was lit for each of the victims during the somber ceremony. (Supplied Photo)
    Biographies of each victim were read, and a candle was lit for each of the victims during the somber ceremony. (Supplied Photo)
  • Roses have been a symbol of the anniversary, and one was laid for each woman killed in the shooting. (Supplied Photo)
    Roses have been a symbol of the anniversary, and one was laid for each woman killed in the shooting. (Supplied Photo)

Dozens of students, faculty, and staff gathered in Beamish-Munro Hall on Wednesday to mark 28 years since the massacre, on a day that was declared Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in the wake of the shooting. The Engineering Society at Queen’s University annually hosts a memorial event marking the date. Participants hold red roses, light white candles, and read brief biographies of each of the women killed on Dec. 6, 1989.

“As a woman in engineering, I am lucky that I don't feel out of place. I am lucky that I personally have not been a victim of violence, and no one has doubted my ability to be an engineer just because of my gender,” Ms. Nunn adds. “In order to ensure that nothing like this happens again, we must first remember and mourn the loss of those 14 beautiful lives. Then we must fight for change and equality for all in the future.”

To learn more about Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, visit the Department of the Status of Women’s website.