Equity Climate Review of York University’s Varsity Student-Athlete Program Covering Letter
In September 2020 we wrote to all student-athletes, and student-athletic alumni dating back to 2012, and invited them to participate in an equity climate review of York University’s Varsity Student-Athlete Program. The review was conducted with over 300 student-athletes and athletic alumni, 28 coaching staff, and 39 administrative staff. The Equity Climate Review was conducted in relation to the student-athlete experience at York University’s Athletics & Recreation Department. The review was conducted by a panel of independent human rights practitioners through Ethical Associates Inc. and was established by York’s senior leadership for the purpose of exploring several key objectives, as outlined in the report.
Alongside the release of this Equity Climate Review, an action plan that laid out our commitments was provided to our community in October 2021. In support of our commitment to keep our community informed of progress towards the implementation of the recommendations of the climate review of York University’s Varsity Student-Athlete Program we are providing an update on the action plan.
It has been a challenging year in Athletics & Recreation with significant changes in staffing. While these challenges have extended the timelines for our work, we continue to progress towards creating a climate that is inclusive and supportive in which all students and staff can thrive. To support this effort a Senior Equity & Inclusion Officer was hired in April 2022 and there are currently two searches in place for staff members in Athletics & Recreation, the Executive Director of Athletics & Recreation, and the Director of Varsity.
We are committed to holding ourselves accountable in reporting our progress to you.
Sincerely,Lucy Fromowitz Vice-Provost, Students
Independent review of the culture in York's Athletics and Recreation varsity teams initiated
Revised June 7, 2021
Review Update – the Review is ongoing. We wanted to ensure that everyone who wished to meet with the external reviewers had an opportunity to do so. We expect the final report to be received in early July. We will provide more details as they become available.
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: email@example.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.
Athletics Equity Climate Review
This Equity Climate Review was conducted in relation to the student-athlete experience at York University’s Athletics & Recreation Department. The Review was conducted by a Review Panel of independent human rights practitioners through Ethical Associates Inc. and was established by York’s senior leadership for the purpose of exploring several key objectives, as outlined in the report.