TORONTO — A suspect has been charged in the stabbing of a professor and two students during a class on gender issues at Canada’s University of Waterloo in what police are calling a hate-motivated attack.
Waterloo Regional Police say Geovanny Villalba-Aleman, an international student who had been studying at the University of Waterloo, faces three counts of aggravated assault, four counts of assault with a weapon and two counts of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
“The accused targeted a gender studies class and investigators believe this was a hate-motivated incident related to gender expression and gender identity,” Waterloo police said in a statement.
A 38-year-old female professor, a 20-year-old female student and 19-year-old male student were sent to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. About 40 students were in the class at the time.
Police say the accused was found in the building after the stabbing and arrested. He appeared in court for a bail hearing Thursday.
Nick Manning, associate vice president of communications for the University of Waterloo, said the suspect is a former student of the university. Manning said that the stabbing occurred in Philosophy 202, which, according to the university website, focuses on “gender issues.”
A website description of the course said it “will examine the construction of gender in the history of philosophy through contemporary discussions. What is gender? How do we “do” gender? How can we “undo” gender — and do we want to?”
“Our entire community is really concerned that this would happen here. It’s a big shock,” Manning said.
Yusuf Kaymak, a student at the univesrity, told CTV News that he was in the class.
“The guy basically walked in and asked the teacher if he was the professor, he said ‘yeah’ then he pulled out a knife and after that, everybody just ran out,” Kaymak said to CTV.
“I ran out, and after we went outside, there was a kid that was stabbed. He was bleeding (from) his arm. I don’t know what happened to the professor,” he said.
Kaymak said about 40 students were in the class at the time.
Classes scheduled for Wednesday evening in Hagey Hall, where the attack took place, were canceled, but all other campus operations will proceed as usual, the university said in a tweet.
In a written statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the stabbings “horrifying and unacceptable.”
“This type of violence must always be condemned. Our thoughts are with the professor and two students who were injured,” he said.
Source : ABC News