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A commemorative plaque that hangs in the Faculty of Engineering. Annie St. Arneault was one of the victims.

Montreal massacre commemorated on campus

December 5, 2014 — 

On December 6, 1989, classes were in session at the École Polytechnique at the University of Montreal, the largest engineering school in Canada, when 25-year-old Marc Lépine entered the school and shot 28 people, then turned his Mini-14 rifle on himself. Entering a classroom, he separated male and female students, and shot all nine women in the room. Six died. He claimed to be “fighting feminism” and called the women “a bunch of feminists.” In total, he killed 14 female engineering students that day.

Engineering student Ella Thomson.

Engineering student Ella Thomson, who organized this year’s memorial at the U of M.

U of M Engineering Society secretary Ella Thomson organized this year’s December 6th memorial at the university. Thomson, who is a second-year electrical engineering student, worked with student volunteers Kara Henrie, Hunter Loewen, Sara Sadowy, Calene Treichel, Chanel Cannon, Katie Whyte, Emily Kiely Smith, Joshua Charles, Ryan Kruk, Nevin Neil, Dayakarn Sandhu, Kim Laberinto, Andre Marchildon, Braydon Whittington, Celine Rivard and Veronica Marriott.

Her motivation was simple. “The Montreal Polytechnique massacre was a tragedy in engineering history,” she says.

“Each year, this memorial marks the national day of remembrance and action on violence against women. This year’s memorial is particularly important, as it is the 25th anniversary of the massacre. It is also important to recognize how much the situation for women in engineering has improved in the past 25 years, but also how far there still is to go.”

Thomson adds that she hopes the memorial will communicate the importance of taking action on violence against women in order to prevent events like this from happening in the future.

The commemoration is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the EITC Atrium, Faculty of Engineering.

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