Engineering Now .: Volume 2 - Edition 6 .: December 19, 2005

Honouring victims of violence

(photo: introductory image for the site)
Western Engineering students and faculty stand behind the 15 candles they lit at the Montreal Massacre Memorial Ceremony, to honour the 14 victims of December 6, 1989 and Lynda Shaw.

The flag flew at half-mast December 6 to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Sixteen years ago on December 6, Marc Lepine, opened fire on a classroom of female engineering students, yelling "I hate feminists". He persisted through the corridors of Montreal's École Polytechnique shooting 27 people, killing 14 women and then himself.

Western Engineering’s Women In Engineering group hosted a memorial ceremony on campus to remember those victims, and other victims of violence.

Co-presidents Natalie Merner and Megan Armitage recounted the tragic events of December 6, 1989.

"Retelling the story is becoming more and more important as time goes by," commented Cynthia Dunning, professor of Mechanical Engineering. "Looking around the room, you realize today’s students were probably only 2, 4, 6 years old at the time of the events."

Armitage also read the names of the 14 victims and Lynda Shaw, a Western Mechanical Engineering student who was murdered in 1990, while student and faculty representatives lit a candle in each victim’s honour.

Following the candle lighting ceremony, guest speaker Constable Colleen Kelly, a Western police officer, spoke to the group about working in a male-dominated field.

"Looking back over my career, I have a lot of positive memories," says Kelly. "Policing has changed the way I see the world."

Over the years, Kelly has seen many changes and challenges since entering the field of policing. She started her career in the early 1990’s as a police officer in London. At the time, there were no other female officers.

"I had to come to work already dressed in my uniform because there were no female locker rooms," Kelly recounts. "My Sergeant at the time refused to work with me because he didn’t think a female would make a good officer."

Kelly persisted through the challenges and showed her Sergeant and other male officers that there is a place for women in policing.

"It was actually during a bar fight, when I jumped in to help break up the fight, that my male colleagues finally realized I was just as qualified for the job as they were," explains Kelly. "The bar fight forever changed my Sergeant’s mind about women in policing."

Kelly is now one of only two female officers at Western. She enjoys working on campus and says she receives the utmost respect from the male officers. Kelly also teaches RAD – a Rape Aggression Defense course - on campus, providing women with the ability to tap into their physical and mental strength.

For more information about RAD training, please visit

Victims of the Montreal Massacre
Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Maud Haviernick
Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Anne-Marie Lemay
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Annie St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte

Also from this web page:


.: Allison Stevenson
Spencer Engineering Building, Room 2074
Telephone: (519) 850-2917 Fax: (519) 661-3808