UW police still looking for controversial poster creator
A poster criticizing U.S. President Barak Obama’s actions in the recent death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was sent on May 8 to numerous students at the University of Waterloo (UW), various individuals at Wilfrid Laurier University and the media.
This poster, portraying the heading “The Truth,” is one of many that were published since early February this year during UW’s Federation of Students’ (FedS) election. The content of the initial posters were anti-feminist, presenting a portrait of Nobel Prize winner and physicist Marie Curie, citing her as “The Mother of the Nuclear Bomb,” and suggesting that women should not be in positions of power.
“This still remains our number one priority as far as the investigation goes,” said the director of UW police Dan Anderson in response to the fear and uncertainty these posters have caused.
Reflecting on the earlier posters that attacked women, one that included a portrait of Lady Gaga, Anderson commented, “Now the focus seems to be… I’m not sure what word to use, not as focused.”
Despite the political turn these poster have made, UW police ensure that they provide support for the female population on campus by establishing connections with the Women’s Centre and LGBT2Q groups as well as women’s studies professors.
There have been leads in the case thus far, but Anderson explained that he could not comment on the details of investigation. He did add that the university’s investigation has worked with the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) and Laurier’s Special Constable Service.
WRPS corporate communications co-ordinator Alana Holtom reiterated the collaboration with UW police, but also said, “At this time there are no criminal grounds, so they don’t have any charges or anything brought forward.”
“The reason charges aren’t laid,” clarified Anderson, “is that we have still not identified who is behind this.”
“It’ s a criminal investigation in the sense that some of the things these posters have said or the way they have been posted have been criminal offences,” he continued.
In responding to the question that if any future charges would label these incidents as a hate crime, Anderson said that it wouldn’t because gender does not fall under hate crimes in the criminal code.
“However, any criminal offence when the person is caught and it is determined that the intent is of that, is to make a specific group fearful, and it doesn’t matter what that group is, then it can be determined to be similar to a hate crime,” said Anderson in the instance the individual is found guilty and can then face harsher penalties.
For the time being, Anderson urged anyone with information to contact UW police or Crime Stoppers, if they chose to remain anonymous.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated May 21, 5:30 p.m.