A Tragedy on Yonge Street

Flags at half mast at Led young College

Dear Students,

I remember distinctly the feelings I had when the events of 9/11 unfolded. I hoped that I would never feel that way again, but yesterday’s tragedy brought it all back. There are real differences between the two incidents, however, and we need to be sure we do not jump to conclusions before we have all the facts.

What we do know is that police suspect the person involved in killing and hurting people in Toronto likely suffered from a mental disorder. At times like this, I believe our community has to commit to two paths.

First, let’s be there for each other. Let’s take extra time to reach out and ensure people are getting the help and support they need. If you see a student who appears to be in distress or someone who seems more withdrawn than usual, please check in with them. Spend some time creating a sense of community and belonging today – many of us are craving the warmth and security that comes from being surrounded by people who care. And, do a self-check – are you, too, okay?

We also need to ensure that our fear does not lead us to make assumptions and draw conclusions while so many of the facts are unknown. While there has been an outpouring of love and support on social media, there are also commenters beginning anti-immigration and hate-fueled rants. We must not allow this rhetoric to take hold. 

We have a special responsibility to deal with any comment or incident that condones hate as a response to tragedy. With a dual focus on compassion and education, we can help our students and each other.

Our campus flags are lowered to honour the victims, and to acknowledge both the incredible work of our emergency responders and the emotional toll this has taken on them. Let our first response be one of love and compassion.

I want to remind you that counselling services are available on campus; in addition, our international students can make use of the Keep Me Safe student support program provided 24/7 in 200 languages at 1-844-451-9700. 

With much respect and compassion,

Ann Buller