Regarding media articles about women’s rowing coach

- University of Victoria

Media have recently reported allegations about a university employee and his treatment of student-athletes.

The university is committed to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for all students, faculty and staff that is free from abuse, discrimination and harassment.

If there are allegations of behaviour by UVic employees that are contrary to university policies, there are impartial and confidential processes in place for resolution and accountability.

This confidentiality means the university cannot provide information about whether and how a specific complaint at the university is being dealt with, or the outcomes of such complaints.

This is not done to frustrate interested parties but to abide by privacy standards set by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and university policies on harassment and discrimination,  and to act fairly and with due respect to all parties involved, including complainants, witnesses and respondents.

The university has processes in place when there are complaints about employee behaviour. These processes do not always require absences from the work place. Appropriate responses are determined in a case by case basis and include consideration of safety measures and/or support for all parties involved.

It is important to note that UVic, as is our regular practice, conducted a thorough recruitment process that includes reference checks with former employers when hiring the new women’s rowing coach in 2018.

We continue to work along with others in high-performance amateur sports on the imperative of providing a safe environment in which athletes can pursue individual and team athletic goals.

The university is constantly looking at ways to support and strengthen the experience of student-athletes. Current initiatives underway include:

  • Development of a shared position with Office of Student Life for a Case Manager/Athlete Support Officer, who will be responsible for developing programs and services for varsity-athlete education and support;
  • Development of a student-athlete leadership council intended as a key advisory constituency for Vikes Athletics and Recreation Senior leadership;
  • Enhancement of annual sport program reviews and student-athlete surveys;
  • Collaboration with the office of Equity and Human Rights to develop additional training sessions for coaches, staff and student-athletes;
  • Improved communications regarding safe sport, bullying and harassment for student-athlete orientation sessions;
  • Development of an appropriate Code of Professional Conduct specific to coaches;
  • Review of best practices across U SPORTS membership, Coaches Association of Canada, Canadian Professional Coaches Association and select Sport Canada affiliated organizations with respect to athlete support and disclosure processes, safe sport, coaching expectations and accountability.