Anonymous online comments target feminists at U of T

The University of Toronto has increased its police presence across all three campuses after an anonymous user encouraged readers to shoot U of T feminists in the comments section of a BlogTO article. The comments, which have since been removed, include the user’s assertion that “feminists who act rude to you at the University of Toronto should be shot to death” as well as instructions as to where a gun can be acquired in Toronto.

“Go into the nearest Sociology or Womens [sic] Studies classroom next week, and fire bullets into the professor’s head and spray bullets all over the room until all the feminists are dead,” the user wrote.

Provost Cheryl Regehr sent out an email to students, faculty, and staff in which she acknowledged the threat and provided a security update. “ The University is currently working with Toronto Police Service and Peel Regional Police Services to support an investigation into anonymous threats made on a public blog against the University of Toronto. We take these threats very seriously and want to ensure that we have a safe campus community,” read a portion of the email.

“We have increased campus police presence on our three campuses, and we are monitoring the situation closely. We are following the advice and direction of Toronto Police Services with respect to their expert assessment of safety on campus.  We will continue to monitor the concern with Toronto Police Services and provide updates to the community.”

Regehr ended the email encouraging students to contact Campus Police and the Office of Public Safety with any concerns, or to report any suspicious activity.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees 3902, the union representing education workers at U of T, also released a statement on the threats. The statement highlighted the fact that the violence was gendered and reminded staff that they had the right to refuse unsafe work.

“At times like these, the solidarity of sisters, brothers, comrades, friends and colleagues in the Union is essential. Let’s all recommit ourselves to each other’s safety and wellbeing and resist gendered violence in every form wherever we see it,” the letter ended.

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