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Statement on the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, NZ

The University of Toronto community has reacted with horror and sorrow on hearing of the terrorist atrocities committed against Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand yesterday.

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of these innocent people who were so cruelly murdered while at worship. We stand in solidarity with Muslims around the world in their shock, grief and outrage in the wake of these despicable attacks. As President of the University of Toronto, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the Muslim Students Association and to all Muslim members of the U of T community at this extremely difficult time.

These unconscionable attacks are intended to sow fear and division. We condemn them absolutely and in the strongest possible terms. We hope that ultimately those responsible will fail, utterly, in their vicious pursuit. And, through our individual and collective responses, we hope that our resolve to build a world of peace and unity will only be strengthened.

I am proud of the contributions of the MSA, and the entire U of T community, in working to overcome division and hatred, and to foster harmony and mutual respect. Through their activities inside and outside the classroom, and through their daily interactions with others on our campuses, U of T students, faculty, staff and alumni demonstrate our profound opposition to Islamophobia and every form of discrimination and racism. They also demonstrate our deep, shared commitment to diversity and respect for difference, as core values of the University and as part of the foundation of our excellence as an academic community. Today we re-affirm that commitment, and in particular our commitment to work towards the eradication of Islamophobia.

I know that the Muslim student groups on each of our campuses have been working with University officials to ensure that we support all those members of our community who have concerns or need assistance today, and in the days to come. We encourage anyone who is in distress to contact their campus Health and Wellness office and to access any services they may need (for more information, please see the links below).

Again, I offer my deepest condolences on this incredibly sad day.

Meric S. Gertler
President, University of Toronto

St. George, Health and Wellness Centre
UTSC, Health and Wellness Centre
UTM, Health & Counselling Centre
Community Safety Office
Campus Chaplains Association
Employee Assistance Program