The students in the K-building were so quiet, one could hear a pin drop. Many were praying or bowing their heads. A woman could be seen crying.
Midday Thursday, Humber College’s Lakeshore campus hosted a moment of silence for victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crash, which claimed the lives of 176, including 63 Canadians.
Ignite Student Services, which hosted the event in conjunction with Humber, offered their sincere condolences to anyone who may be affected by the tragedy.
Chris Whitaker, the president and CEO of Humber College, offered his thoughts and prayers to those affected by the crash. “In times like these, we as a community should come together to mourn the loss of those affected by this tragedy.”
Whitaker reminded students that if anyone needed assistance in their grieving process, Humber has free counseling services available. Information for those services can be accessed here.
Ryan Stafford, student union Ignite’s Vice President of Lakeshore, offered his sympathy to those affected by the incident. “This tragedy affected our entire community,” Stafford said. “In this time of mourning, we should take comfort in the community we have here at Humber. Take comfort in each other.”
Humber professor Soheila Pashang said that these acts of terror will continue to happen until people become more united. “People are always focusing on what divides them rather than what brings them together,” she said. “This cannot continue to happen.”
Humber students were very emotional about the tragedy.
Humber business student and podcaster Jacob McKeeman told Skedline that he was in disbelief about the events that took place last week. “I think we see the world through rose coloured glasses,” McKeeman said. “‘Incidents’ such as these happen far too many times… it seems like they’re ploys for political gain. It’s saddening that this can happen.”
McKeeman said it was the right thing for Humber to do to conduct a moment of silence, but he thought the school could do more. “To be honest, outside of this and counseling, the school hasn’t said much on this topic. I think this is one of those difficult issues to talk about and I can understand why it’s hard to bring this up for the school.”
Andrew Leopold, Humber’s director of communications, told Skedline that no one in the Humber community lost any family members. Leopold said that many of the professors knew some of the Canadians that perished, as they were a member of the academic community.
“This is an event that no one wants to see happen,” he said. “It affects an entire country, not just one community.”
Elsewhere, moments of silence were held throughout the Greater Toronto Area and across the country.
More than a dozen universities have said they are grieving students, faculty and researchers who were among the 176 people killed when Flight 752 was mistakenly shot down near Tehran last Wednesday.
The Canadian Press has independently confirmed at least 86 victims with ties to Canada, many of them were students and professors returning after spending the December break visiting relatives in Iran.
Paul Davidson, president and CEO of Universities Canada, told CTV that universities wanted to mark the one-week anniversary of the devastating incident. “It’s been a very tough week on campuses right across the country as so many people who perished have got connections to the university community,” he said. “The loss to our community is profound, the loss of potential, the really bright minds and engaged people who were pursuing research interests that were diverse, that were from all fields…it’s a very far-reaching loss.”
Outside of colleges and universities, companies like Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment are launching fundraisers for victims of the Iran plane crash.
Dave Haggith, senior director of communications for MLSE, said the fundraising campaign is being called #CanadaStrong. The goal is to reach $1.5 million in donations. He hopes that teams throughout the country will join MLSE in helping those affected by the tragedy in their time of need.
The fundraising campaign will launch during tonight’s Toronto Maple Leafs game against the Calgary Flames.