On Dec. 3, the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Faculty Association planned a moment of silence in recognition of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.
The day, which was established by Canadian parliament, was created in honour of 14 women who were murdered at École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989.
Often referred to as the Montreal Massacre, the brutal murders were acts of a single male, entered the school and purposely targeted only the female students.
While this day of remembrance is expressed all across Canada, it appeared many Kwantlen students were more interested in the free breakfast the Kwantlen Student Association was offering that morning.
As nine students circled around a small table, holding roses and bowing their heads in silence, more than 20 students were noisily gathering around the KSA food table, directly across the Richmond rotunda, to receive free cereal and toast.
As the participating students laid the roses to rest on a small round table, and lit candles for each rose, it seemed the rest the student population were oblivious to the seriousness of the occasions.
The roses where left unattended on the table, alongside several pamphlets about the occasion, and then students left for classes, disappointed, as a larger turnout had been expected.
The Kwantlen Faculty Association will hold memorial events on Dec. 4 and 5 at noon to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Ã‰cole Polytechnique massacre, and the continuing issue of violence against women.Â
The remembrance ceremonies will be held at noon on Dec. 4 outside the cafeteria on the Cloverdale campus, and at noon on Dec. 5 in the rotunda of the Richmond campus, in the Building G courtyard in Surrey and by the bookstore at the Langley campus.
Bull-riding, Guitar Hero and a live pony were a few of the features at the Cloverdale campus Oct. 29, a day to celebrate of Kwantlenâ€™s university status with an event called â€œOur Students, Our Community.â€
All campuses have been asked to host a day to honor the new status and the campus culture, and Cloverdale went all out.
â€œThe intent today is to send the message that we are a university,â€ said Lynn Doull, the administrative program assistant for trades and technology at the campus, â€œand to inspire enthusiasm in students and faculty.â€
A wide hallway was lined with tables, and at each one a different program had a mini-presentation set up, with an instructor on hand to talk to anyone who had questions. Dexter, the pony, was stationed at the ferriers’ table.
A hockey tent was set up for anyone who wanted to play, and with the other festivities and free food, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
In a larger, open area, a local trio, Delta Blue, performed for the crowd. The band’s drummer, Bradley Paraninfi, attends the campus and offered to play. The members were eager and excited to put on the show.
In attendance, along with students and faculty, was President David Atkinson who was invited to an unveiling of a structure that was put together by students from the heavily-trade campus. Outside, a crowd gathered to watch Atkinson cut metal with a blowtorch, unlatching two swinging doors. After a few technical difficulties, Atkinson broke through and the crowd cheered.
â€œThose things have no problem cutting through human flesh!â€ commented Atkinson, a little alarmed after handling such a tool.
â€œIâ€™ve spent all of my life in the rarified environment of â€˜the universityâ€™. So when I come over here and someone hands me a welding torch â€“ you saw how nervous I was.â€
Working with Kwantlen, Atkinson said, has been a revelation.
For him, the day was â€œa matter of trying to celebrate community,â€ he said, â€œand this facility, perhaps more than any because the kind of education which is going on here, is extraordinary. Itâ€™s not the kind of education you would typically find in a university.â€