Cindy Player Award on Equity and Human Rights

Cindy Player served as the Director of Equity and Human Rights at the University of Victoria from 2004 to 2016 and was a champion of issues related to fairness and human rights for her entire life.  Going back to her undergraduate days at UVic in the early 1970’s when she volunteered for the NEED Crisis Line, she had a deep empathy and compassion for persons experiencing hardship or discrimination, and a strong understanding of systemic inequality and injustice.

Her studies in sociology and social work were the foundation for a diverse and impactful career that included roles as a defence scientist with DND, a transition house worker at the Ottawa Interval House supporting women and their children who were victims of intimate partner violence, and positions where she advanced a culture of human rights at Carleton and McMaster Universities before returning to UVic. She was delighted to have the opportunity to move back home to Victoria in 2004 from Ontario with her partner Lorna and their son Jack.

In her role at UVic, she had an impressive record of creating educational campaigns, policies, and recourse systems to ensure that human rights were understood and upheld. Her work touched on the most sensitive relationships, including complaints of harassment across campus. She undertook her investigations with rigor and in a manner that was trauma-informed and respectful of all parties, demonstrating the highest standards of administrative fairness. Most importantly, her signature kindness was the basis of all her interactions. 

Cindy had a keen interest and personal experience with mental health issues and served as a member of the Mental Health and the Law Advisory Committee to the Mental Health Commission of Canada.  While at UVic, she established the first inclusive campus-wide mental health task force for students, staff, and faculty. She was a leader who used her office to create a more inclusive and respectful university culture.

Cindy was a volunteer with Dying with Dignity Canada and a strong proponent of their campaign for an advanced request for assisted dying. She was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2016 and on August 28, 2023 received medical assistance in dying (MAiD).

Cindy was a passionate feminist and deeply committed to reconciliation with First Nations. She believed that her undergraduate years in sociology at UVic were formative in shaping her values. She wanted to create an opportunity through this award for students pursuing a similar path, those with strong values who are determined to make the world a more equitable and a kinder place.


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