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Independent review of the culture in York's Athletics and Recreation varsity teams initiated

Revised on August 31, 2020.

York University will always seek to promote an atmosphere of civility, diversity, equity, and respect in our interactions with others, either on or off campus.

In response to concerns raised regarding the culture of our Athletics and Recreation varsity teams, York is launching an independent, third party review to explore the culture within York's athletic programs through the lens of the student-athlete’s experiences, and review York Athletics & Recreations’ policies.

The independent review will include an examination of the culture of York’s varsity teams and the experiences of current and former athletes. This review will also emphasize our shared responsibility to build more inclusive and equitable societies by recognizing that racism, marginalization, oppression, discrimination, patriarchal patterns of behaviour all exist within sports and the wider society. The deeply troubling acts of anti-Black racism that we have seen recently are an important reminder of the work we all have to protect and uphold the rights and dignity of all.

The report is anticipated to identify best practices from similar athletics departments and organizations using an intersectional and inclusive lens and provide both short term and long term recommendations that will ensure York upholds the principles of safety, equity and inclusion in our community.

The independent review will span the last 8 years, back to 2012, will include interviews with current and former student-athletes, other students, and athletics staff, including coaches and administrators.

The review, commissioned by the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion, on behalf of the Vice Provost, Students, has engaged Ethical Associates to lead the review. This firm has a great deal of experience in investigations which assist institutions in addressing complex issues from a variety of lenses, including equity, diversity, anti-black racism, and inclusion. The two principle leads are human rights lawyers and each brings a unique background through their experience as past athletes, as coaches and work in the social justice public sector.

The review will begin immediately. Anyone who would like to participate is invited to please contact: share@yorkathleticsreview.com.

A final report, which will include observations and recommendations, will be submitted to the Vice Provost, Students, Lucy Fromowitz. The recommendations, will be made public.

York is taking this strong action to ensure that our varsity teams, and our entire community, continue to uphold our shared values and that those with concerns have a safe space to come forward.

To those individuals who have reported a negative experience, the University thanks you for coming forward. It takes courage to speak up about trauma and we appreciate your effort to help ensure a safe and healthy environment for all.

Lucy Fromowitz
Vice-Provost, Students