Attack at hagey hall spurs protests and promotes unity

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Photo by Jack Vrolyk

Declared as a “hate-motivated” act of violence, two students alongside the professor of Philosophy 202: Gender Issues were stabbed at the University of Waterloo’s Hagey Hall on June 28th at 4pm. 

The following day, City of Waterloo police chief Mark Crowell spoke to address the timeline of the attack, detailing how the assailant spoke to the class’s professor to confirm the class was on the topic of gender identity before stabbing the professor with two large knives. Two other students were injured by the assailant before those who had managed to escape the classroom notified onlookers of what was going on. 

After being alerted to the crime, Special Constables and the Waterloo Region Police managed to subdue the attacker after they attempted to pose themselves as a victim of the attack. As of 4:50 PM on the 28th, the University of Waterloo twitter account (@UWaterloo) announced  that the campus community was safe, and Hagey Hall was vacated. All victims were left with serious, but not life threatening injuries.

Charged in the crime was Geovanny Villalba-Aleman, a 24 year-old international student who graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2022. In a statement by the WRPS, Villalba-Aleman’s charges were outlined to include aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and mischief.

Following the aftermath of the attack, protestors joined together on June 29th at two different rallies to support victims and denounce hate-motivated violence. The first, run by the University of Waterloo, hosted speakers such as Vivek Goel, president of the University of Waterloo, dean of arts, Sheila Ager and Rory Norris, president of the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association. Attendees of the rally included City of Waterloo police chief Mark Crowell, numerous faculty members and students of the university.

The second rally of the day organized by members of Ground Up Waterloo Region was announced to be “community run and police free” as protestors and speakers joined together to recall their memories of the event. Present at the rally was TK Pritchard, executive director of the SHORE Centre. Ending the rally was Laura Mae Lindo, MPP for Kitchener Centre who led the crowd in a singing of “Don’t Worry About a Thing” by Bob Marley.


Dedicated to supporting the community through this hard time, the University of Waterloo prompted students to make use of counselling services at Campus Wellness (519-888-4096). Employees of the university can find assistance through the university’s employment and insurance program (1-800-663-1142 or Homeweb.ca). Members of the Laurier community seeking  support can contact Vanessa Oliver, interim associate vice-president: equity, diversity and inclusion at avpedi@wlu.ca.


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