Message to the Community from the UBC President

I am writing with deep sadness to share with you the news of the brutal attack on our graduate student Ms Rumana Monzur in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Ms Monzur is completing a Master’s degree in Political Science at our Vancouver campus.  She returned home to visit her family and friends, as well as her colleagues at the University of Dhaka, a few weeks ago. Shortly after her return she was brutally attacked by her husband. She has been seriously injured, and I have been informed that her father has now taken her to India for further treatment.

Along with all of Ms Monzur’s colleagues, friends, and instructors, I was appalled to learn of the violence  she has suffered.  I join with other members of the UBC community in expressing my condolences, my support, and my prayers for Rumana at this difficult time.  I am heartened to hear of the strong support that she has received from her colleagues and students at the University of Dhaka.  We at UBC join with those colleagues, students and friends in our support for her.

This tragic occasion is a poignant marker of the need to work to protect the fundamental human right of all women to pursue education.  The allegations that her commitment to her studies was a factor in the attack are of grave concern.  As the President of a leading global university, I emphasize that this right is fundamental to our mission, and I applaud those at the University of Dhaka who are expressing solidarity and support.

I join all members of the UBC community in anxiously awaiting news of Ms Monzur’s progress.

I am writing personally to Ms Monzur and her parents.  Faculty and staff across this campus are working to coordinate information, and to support Ms Monzur’s colleagues and students here at UBC.


Stephen J. Toope