Woodsworth College student Emma Leckey, the victim of a hit-and-run on the UTSG campus on March 15, has passed away.
Leckey was a student in U of T’s Ethics, Society, and Law program. Her passing was mourned in an email from Professor John Duncan, the director of the program. “All of us in the major are unfathomably saddened by the passing of Emma, who was an excellent student and cherished member of our institutional family,” wrote Duncan. “Words fail me.”
“Emma will always be a valued member of our student community. She will be fondly remembered for her advocacy projects, dedication to furthering social justice around campus, and her work with the Canadian Cancer Society,” wrote the U of T Ethics, Society, and Law Students’ Association.
“Emma worked tirelessly and was always there for us if we ever needed a shoulder to lean on,” said Steven Worboys, her close friend. “Emma didn’t need to have her name attached to anything for it to matter to her. She truly believed in making the world a better place for many communities, in particular those that had their voices rarely heard. We have lost a beacon of light and many years of positive change that lay ahead.”
Through the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), Leckey was also involved with Relay for Life U of T, which is a fundraising event for the CCS. As a co-chair of the event for two years, she helped raise $40,000. According to Leckey’s co-chair and close friend, Julian Lamanna, “Emma was one of the most loving, caring, giving, and kind people I have ever met. I will forever be grateful for her being a part of my life.”
Lamanna said that Leckey was a “talented, motivated, and incredible soul, gone too soon.”
Leckey was struck by a vehicle while crossing the intersection of Huron Street and College Street. According to police, the driver, who has since been charged, may have been intoxicated.
According to Woodsworth College Principal Joe Desloges, Leckey was taken to the hospital after being helped by an onlooker. There, doctors made extraordinary efforts to keep her alive despite severe injuries.
“Her parents now find themselves in a position to act on behalf of their daughter and have made the decision to allow Emma to pass,” reads Desloges’ statement, posted on Facebook on March 20 by the Woodsworth College Students’ Association (WCSA).
Both Lamanna and Worboys wanted to highlight the dangers of drunk driving, saying that her family wants to prevent something like this from ever happening again. “No matter what rationale you can come up with to validate this, someone’s life is not worth it.”
The WCSA Board of Directors wrote in a statement that it “would like to take this moment to honour our great friend and colleague Emma for her devotion to the Woodsworth community. Emma will forever be part of the wolf pack, and always remain in our hearts. Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time.”
According to Desloges, there will likely be a memorial service held at U of T to honour her memory, though the date has not yet been determined.
U of T’s Health & Wellness Centre has been made aware of the impact Leckey’s passing may have on students. Students may indicate to the front desk at Health & Wellness that they are from the “Woodsworth community” if they wish to seek additional support.
“Emma was the kind of person who inspired you to be a better person. To push as hard as possible to achieve your goals,” said Lamanna. “And to always smile, even during the toughest of times.”