Skip to main content

From the University President

sign at entrance of University of WaterlooAcademic and personal freedom and the tragedy at Waterloo

June 30, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

The tragic and shocking incident at the University of Waterloo, in which a professor and two students were stabbed by a recent graduate, was described by police as “a hate-motivated incident related to gender expression and gender identity.” Many members of our own community have been deeply affected by this tragedy, either because they have a friend or colleague at Waterloo or because of their intellectual work or identity. I, myself, have many reasons to feel this tragedy keenly. I have deep respect for the faculty, students and staff at Waterloo and have served on a doctoral dissertation committee with respected colleagues on this beautiful and vibrant campus.

Violent attempts to repress free speech and free inquiry, to harm people engaged in a course of academic study, or to harm them because of the expression of their gender identity are intolerable in a free society. We are continually reviewing our own procedures for safety, as well as incorporating lessons learned from violent incidents on college campuses. We will not be deterred from our commitment to the free exchange of ideas on our campus.

Idaho State Board of Education and university policies underscore the right of both students and faculty to freely explore ideas.

Policy III.B.3.a explains, “In addition to constitutionally protected freedoms of speech, assembly and religion, faculty have the right to engage in free inquiry, intellectual debate and freedom of scholarship both on and off campus. Faculty shall not be subject to retaliation or censorship in response to their research, publications, creative activity, pedagogy, participation in institutional governance and all other official aspects of their job description. When speaking or writing as a citizen, each faculty member should be free from institutional censorship or discipline.”

We will continue to assert this right to support research, teaching and learning on our campus. We remain committed to supporting our faculty, students and staff in the classroom and beyond, regardless of how they identify. In this tumultuous time, we will strive to keep our community safe.

Marlene Tromp
Dr. Marlene Tromp, Boise State University President

To seek mental health support, please reach out to University Counseling Services at (208) 426-1459.

To discuss any campus safety concerns you may have, please contact the Department of Public Safety’s non-emergency line at (208) 426-6911.


Dr. Marlene Tromp

Source: Email to faculty and staff – June 30, 2023