Skip to Main Content

A message from Dean Williams: Safety and solidarity


Dear FIFSW community,

As you are aware, recent events, including last week’s protests at Queen’s Park, have underscored the alarming rise of anti-trans and anti-2SLGBTQ+ activities across our country. Recent measures such as removing classroom locations online serve as a stark reminder of the challenging environment we are currently facing, and the very real concerns about safety. We are living in troubled times and there are people in our community who are feeling this quite deeply.

In light of these circumstances, I want to emphasize that your safety and your feelings of safety are a priority for the University and for this Faculty. If you have any concerns regarding your safety or the safety of those around you, please do not hesitate to bring them to our attention. Also remember that, as members of the UofT community, there are services available for you to discuss concerns or seek support. I encourage you to explore our mental health resources page for more information about available services and the Simcoe Hall message, circulated earlier, includes information about campus safety units. As well, you may want to reach out to the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office for support, or to get involved in their advocacy work. I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to the FIFSW faculty, instructors, staff and students who are working to promote community healing and collective action within trans and 2SLGBTQ+ communities, especially at this difficult time.

It is equally important to emphasize that this Faculty stands firmly in solidarity with the 2SLGBTQ+ members of our community. We condemn all forms of hate, discrimination, and violence against our peers and colleagues who are being targeted, as well as all other communities facing similar threats. As a Faculty of Social Work, it is our mission to build a society where everyone in our communities lives without fear.

The FIFSW needs to be a community that fosters safety, inclusivity, and solidarity and I thank you for your collaboration in achieving those goals. A crucial step toward achieving these ideals is becoming more informed, and I encourage you to explore sites like the ones listed below to learn more. Let’s work together to support and stand by one another.


Charmaine C. Williams, PhD (she/elle)Dean & Professor
Factor-inwentash Faculty of Social Work

Additional resources

Myths and Facts: Battling Disinformation About Transgender Rights

Tips for Allies of Transgender People

Message to the community about planned demonstration at Queen’s Park – September 19, 2023

From Kelly Hannah-Moffat, VP, People Strategy, Equity & Culture, University of Toronto

The University is aware of a planned anti-trans and anti-2SLGBTQ+ demonstration taking place at Queen’s Park and across North America on September 20, and we have consulted with community partners on potential impacts. Faculty, staff, librarians, students, and visitors to the St. George campus may be impacted due to the event’s proximity to the University and its subject matter. In the wake of the recent violent incident targeting women and gender studies at a peer university, we understand that certain members of our own community may feel particularly impacted. 

I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm the University of Toronto’s dedication to the values of inclusion, excellence, diversity, and access. We unequivocally support all 2SLGBTQ+ members of the University of Toronto community, and those across Canada and around the world, who are experiencing increasing discrimination and violence. The University is an environment where all students, faculty, staff, and librarians should feel that they belong, are respected and can thrive. Expressions of hate including homophobia, transphobia, and all forms of discrimination, have no place at the University of Toronto, or in society at large. Providing and maintaining a safe environment for everyone is a priority for the University.  

Campus Safety will be monitoring the situation and encourages community members to contact them at 416-978-2222 or through our Safety App for any urgent safety concerns. Please know that ongoing supports are also available through the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office, Equity Offices across the University, and through the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre.