The University of Alberta fired a campus director Saturday for calling reports of sexual violence by Hamas an "unverified accusation."
Samantha Pearson, director of the U of A Sexual Assault Centre, is among the signatories to a ceasefire petition from Ontario MPP Sarah Jama and Victoria Coun. Susan Kim that appeared to minimize reports of sexual violence against Israeli citizens on October 7.
"[NDP leader] Jagmeet Singh repeated the unverified accusation that Palestinians were guilty of sexual violence," it read.
University president Bill Flanagan tendered a statement Saturday afternoon condemning outright the "improper" and "unauthorized" use of the centre's name to endorse the open letter. "Effective immediately, the director of the centre is no longer employed by the university," he said.
Flanagan called the former employee’s personal views "profoundly hurtful" and clarified her opinions do not represent those of the University of Alberta.
The Jewish Federation of Edmonton took exception with the open letter on social media.
"Samantha Pearson, and the U of A Sexual Assault Centre, signed a letter alleging that Israelis were not raped or sexually assaulted by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7," it posted on social media. “Shouldn’t a sexual assault centre believe all victims and not just the non-Jewish ones?”
According to witness testimony, Hamas sexually assaulted Israeli civilians during the October 7 terror attacks.
"They bent someone over. I realized he was raping her and passing her on to someone else also in uniform," said an eyewitness, adding Hamas then shot the young woman in the head, while others mutilated her body.
Another witness told local law enforcement the eyewitness told him what she saw at the time.
During a community event, Jama accused Canada’s "Zionist lobby" of spreading 'misinformation" concerning the attacks that left more than 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals dead.
In her address, she falsely claimed that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) refuted media reports of women being raped and Hamas beheading babies.
"I think this draws a very good picture of the ability for a government to be influenced by the Zionist lobby – because it has been disproven publicly – like the IDF themselves have said there’s no actual evidence of these rapes and the babies with their heads cut off," said Jama.
The Israeli government obtained an Arabic-Hebrew transliteration glossary belonging to Hamas that included sexually explicit terminology, including "take your pants off."
"This evidence suggests that Hamas terrorists planned to systematically rape Israeli women," posted the Israeli government to its X feed.
The discovery of this 'glossary' follows a separate set of detailed 'top secret' plans from Hamas that emphasized "[killing] as many people as possible."
Flanagan reiterated the campus Sexual Assault Centre is committed to "swiftly implementing the changes required to ensure this university commitment is upheld."
"The services provided by the university, particularly those supporting the well-being and health of community members, must be open and welcoming to all individuals in our diverse community," he said.
"The University of Alberta stands firmly and unequivocally against discrimination and hatred on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, and other protected categories."