Student charged in University of Waterloo stabbing that injured three
Neil SuttonNews Campus stabbing university of waterloo
By Fakiha Baig in Waterloo, Ont.
A triple stabbing during a gender studies class at the University of Waterloo is believed to have been a hate-motivated attack, police said Thursday as they laid multiple charges against a 24-year-old student.
The violence that took place on the campus about 100 kilometres west of Toronto a day earlier left three people injured and many others expressing shock at what happened.
Police said Geovanny Villalba-Aleman faces three counts of aggravated assault, four counts of assault with a weapon and two counts of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
“The accused targeted a gender-studies class and investigators believe this was a hate-motivated incident related to gender expression and gender identity,” Waterloo Regional Police wrote in a statement.
The stabbings sent a 38-year-old professor and two students – a 20-year-old woman and 19-year-old man – to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Disquieted students questioned why it took hours for them to receive an emergency alert on what had happened.
“I was completely shocked,” Mara Crassweller, a graduate student, said while sitting Thursday inside the hall where the stabbings took place.
Classes had resumed but the campus was largely deserted the morning after the stabbings.
“I’m here every day and I haven’t seen it this quiet in a very long time,” said Crassweller. “It’s kind of eerie, especially in this building right now.”
Crassweller said it took about three hours for her to receive an emergency alert from the university in the aftermath of the stabbings.
Brianna Egan, a 23-year-old accounting student, said her class in the same building as the gender studies lecture let out minutes before Wednesday’s stabbing.
“(It) was a bit terrifying to be honest, especially with how long it took the university to respond,” she said.
In a bulletin to the university’s website Thursday morning, a senior university administrator acknowledged the alert system “did not activate as quickly as we would have all have expected,” despite being tested earlier on Wednesday.
“In the coming days many of you will have questions about why this happened and about the University’s response. My commitment to you is that senior leaders will be as transparent as possible with the information we have,” said James Rush, vice-president academic and provost.
Students were expected to gather for a moment of silence in the university’s arts quad later on Thursday afternoon.
In a written statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the stabbings “horrifying and unacceptable.”
“This type of violence must always be condemned. Our thoughts are with the professor and two students who were injured,” he said.
University President Vivek Goel said the campus community was coming to grips with Wednesday’s attack and encouraged the use of mental health supports being offered by the school.
Police said there were roughly 40 students inside the classroom when the stabbings took place.
The accused, an international student, was found in the building shortly after and arrested, police said. He appeared in court for a bail hearing Thursday afternoon.
— with files from Jordan Omstead in Toronto
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2023.
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