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Students scrutinize Lady Godiva ride

For 45 minutes on Dec. 6, 1989 an enraged gunman roamed the corridors of Montreal's École Polytechnique and killed 14 women. Marc Lepine, 25, separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, "I hate feminists." Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women.

Engineering students have a tradition where a scantily clad woman rides across campus on a horse during engineering week. This year university students criticize the annual Lady Godiva ride, as heard in this television report. Even though schools dedicate engineering week to victims of the Montreal Massacre, some students say a woman riding across campus partially naked is anti-feminist. On Dec. 6 last year Marc Lepine killed 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique because he "hated feminists."

Heidi Rathjen, an engineering student who hid in a room Lepine never entered, says students are putting up with fewer sexist jokes since the murders. Of the 14 women killed, 12 were engineering students and one studied nursing. The other victim was a university clerk.
. Female students comprise only 10 per cent of all engineering students.
. Shortly after the massacre, Heidi Rathjen circulated a petition calling for the ban of assault weapons and, with Ryerson Polytechnic Institute professor Wendy Cukier, started an organization called Canadians for Gun Control. The organization, which lobbies for stricter gun laws, merged with the Coalition for Gun Control in 1991.
. Over 350 organizations in Canada work for stricter gun control.

. In 2000 the Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) filed a court claim opposing the Firearms Act of 1995. NTI, which also negotiated the land claim leading to the new territory's creation, argued the law was inappropriate for Nunavut's hunters. The territory's inhabitants rely on hunting for about 60 per cent of their diet.

. Although Canada is often praised for low gun possession rates when compared to the United States, the country's international record is not as good. In 1999 Canada ranked fifth among industrialized nations - after Northern Ireland and Israel - for the highest rate of children killed by guns.
Medium: Television
Program: Sunday Report
Broadcast Date: Feb. 4, 1990
Guest(s): Shawn Hope, Scott Kant, Heidi Rathjen
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Karen Webb
Duration: 3:11

Last updated: September 13, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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