walking path on UTM campus

Message from the Vice-President & Principal - Response to statement by UTMSU

Alexandra Gillespie

The horrific attacks by Hamas that took place several days ago targeted civilians in Israel with abhorrent brutality. The attacks, and the war that is now unfolding in Gaza and Israel, have resulted in unimaginable pain, suffering, and loss, and have caused profound distress and anxiety for people all around the world, including here at the University of Toronto Mississauga. 

In recent days, many of our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and parents of students have shared their pain and disappointment over a statement made by the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU). 

UTMSU is an autonomous, democratically elected student organization on campus, whose membership includes all UTM students. It is entirely inappropriate for it to express a position that does not represent the views of its full membership – views that are as diverse as the student body itself. Student unions and governments must resist the urge to make public statements on contentious issues that purport to represent the views of all of their constituents.   

The University has already communicated its concerns to UTMSU about its statement and instructed its executive to confirm the actions it will take to ensure that no student at UTM is marginalized or discriminated against on the basis of nationality or religion.  

I call upon our entire community to engage in thoughtful and respectful dialogue, demonstrate empathy, compassion, and kindness toward others, and deepen their own commitment to fostering environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all. We remind everyone to be mindful of the impact of their words so that they do not deepen polarization, create anxiety and division, fuel animosity, or create fear.  

Antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, and discrimination of any kind have no place on our campus. It is the duty of every member of our community to ensure that our campus remains an affirming, respectful, and inclusive place to learn and work.  

Alexandra Gillespie  
Vice-President & Principal 
University of Toronto Mississauga