C/O Robin Worrall, Unsplash

Hamilton police investigated shooting threat made against McMaster University and Mohawk College

On Sunday, Nov. 7, a screenshot began circulating around social media which claimed that someone had made a shooting threat against McMaster University and Mohawk College for Monday, Nov. 8. 

Messages in the screenshot showed an individual warning others not to go to campus on Monday. This screenshot was spread through various social media platforms, such as Instagram and the Spotted at Mac Facebook page. 

That day, a statement was released through McMaster Daily News, saying that the police had been informed of the situation and that McMaster would be proceeding with classes as usual on Nov. 8. 

“The university has not been made aware of any reason not to go ahead with its usual operations. Based on the information that McMaster has received, McMaster will be operating normally on Monday,” stated the university. 

Navya Sheth, a second-year student at McMaster University, noted that most of her initial information about the shooting threat was learned from discussions with her peers. Sheth said her peers reacted to the shooting threat and to McMaster’s statement in different ways. 

“Several of my friends were really concerned and took [the threat] really seriously. Others were not concerned at all and didn’t think that it was going to happen regardless. And then there was a third smaller fraction which might have been concerned, but then, when the university took action and when class was still running, decided to continue as normal,” said Sheth. 

“Several of my friends were really concerned and took [the threat] really seriously. Others were not concerned at all and didn’t think that it was going to happen regardless. And then there was a third smaller fraction which might have been concerned, but then, when the university took action and when class was still running, decided to continue as normal.”

Nayva Sheth, Second-year McMaster Student

On the morning of Nov. 8, Mohawk College released a statement on Twitter. 

“Police are investigating and there is no indication that this represents a credible threat. College campuses and services will be operating as normal today,” stated Mohawk. 

On the morning of Monday, Nov. 8, the Hamilton Police followed up with their own statement on Twitter, saying that they had located the source of the threat. 

The Hamilton Police managed the investigation into the shooting threat and determined that it was not credible. 

The Hamilton Police managed the investigation into the shooting threat and determined that it was not credible.

Still, both McMaster and Mohawk experienced increased police presence on Monday, Nov. 8, as a precaution.

CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of sexual assault and rape.

[spacer height="20px"]These past few weeks have been tough to watch.

On Sept. 27, Prof. Christine Blasey Ford gave a testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, whom she says sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Since Prof. Blasey Ford spoke out, three more women have made similar reports against Kavanaugh, who, by the time this piece is published, may be elected as a sitting Judge on the Supreme Court of the United States.

As of Friday, Sept. 28, Kavanaugh’s election has been halted and the matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who have only one week and a limited number of resources to conduct the investigation. The Senate Judiciary Committee, however, hopes the investigation will come to a close sooner.

It may be hard to think about how politics in the U.S. affect us here in Canada, but it’s not hard to understand that if Kavanaugh is elected as a member of the Supreme Court, survivors everywhere are being told that their stories don’t matter.

Out of every 1,000 instances of reported rape, 994 rapists walk free, according to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network and Bureau of Justice Statistics. Only one out of every three instances of rape are reported, and only two to 10 per cent of reported rapes are false reports.

Let’s bring it closer to home. In 2017, it was reported by the Globe and Mail’s Unfounded investigation that police in Hamilton and Halton dismissed 30 per cent of sex assault claims over a five-year period as "unfounded," a far larger statistic than the national average of 19 per cent.

An “unfounded” report indicates the investigating officer does not believe a crime was attempted or happened. Once an allegation is categorized as unfounded, it effectively disappears from public record.

In a world whereby an old boys’ club is in charge of what happens to abusers, a world whereby survivors who speak out are harassed, not believed or threatened, it’s no question as to why survivors take their time in reporting instances of assault. It’s also no question as to why survivors don’t report their assault at all.

If we really do condemn the actions of abusers, let’s see it. If we really do want to create a space where survivors feel comfortable reporting their assault, let’s do it.

If we really do believe survivors, let’s believe survivors.[spacer height="20px"]

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Eugenie Bouchard asked to twirl by a male reporter, an entire university team suspended due to allegations of sexual assault and FIFA subjecting female athletes to a literally inferior playing field. It is apparent that women are not treated equally as men in sport. But The Silhouette wanted to find out, does this systemic discrimination manifest at McMaster?

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SportsGenderFeature

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“Well I’ve been around for 28 years and it’s never occurred to me until this second that male teams have been more successful than female teams at McMaster, and I can’t actually come up with a reason [...] they could have a half day retreat to think about [gender disparity] for the staff and coaches to sit down and say, ‘we seem to have this discrepancy, and what is it, and can we do something to address it?’”

- Philip White, Professor of Kinesiology, researcher on the sociology of sport.

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The Football Conundrum

“There’s no comparable women’s team to men’s football so it does throws the comparison a little bit out of whack, if you take football out of the equation it’s fairly balanced, in some sports, the AFA numbers are more heavily weighted to female teams. Football set aside it’s a fairly balanced picture.”

- Gordon Arbeau, Direction, Public & Community Relations, McMaster

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“How do you try to balance things out with football? It’s an issue throughout sports, the gender equity issue… We try and fund women’s sport a little bit better than men’s sport, absent football. But we have limited resources. The next sport if we were to bring out a varsity sport would probably be women’s hockey”

- Glen Grunwald, Director of Athletics and Recreation, McMaster

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