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Athletics & Recreation department review gets underway

With the phased opening of the Athletics and Recreation Centre and additional indoor and outdoor facilities now underway, a planned department review of Athletics & Recreation (A&R) will be starting next month.

The review is part of the university and department’s ongoing commitment to ensure a safe, respectful and equitable environment for student-athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers, and participants, and will examine existing policies and practices. The university has retained the services of the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG), an independent sport management company that offers safe sport, legal solutions, strategic communications and leadership development services to sport organizations across Canada.

The university is committed to ensuring leading practices are informing the delivery of its programs and routinely conducts reviews of its various departments. In recent years, there have been several issues in collegiate athletics and recreation across North America, including those relating to safe sport policy, athlete wellness, gender inclusion, complaints processes and coach/athlete power dynamic. As a result, there have been important shifts in standards, approaches, and expectations that Queen’s believes will be important to consider as part of the review.

“We retained the SLSG back in June and due to COVID-19, we felt it was important to launch the review after we had solidified our return to sport and activity protocols for the start of the academic year. We are eager to hear from student-athletes, our staff, coaches, and other stakeholders such as OUA and USPORTS to reflect an inclusive and transparent process,” says Leslie Dal Cin, Executive Director, A&R. “Our goal is a collaborative approach to ensure our programs and services reflect leading practices and that we remain one of the most progressive collegiate athletics and recreation departments in Canada.”

The SLSG has conducted dozens of reviews over the years to assist clients in supporting safer and more inclusive environments. The SLSG will initiate the process with an audit of current policies and practices, review the department’s governance and operations, engage student-athletes, A&R department staff, coaches and other stakeholders through various methods, and compare findings against expected standards and leading practices.

“We believe that COVID-19 presents an opportune time to pause, review current practices, engage stakeholders in meaningful conversations, and identify areas of enhancement,” says Dina Bell-Laroche, partner, SLSG. “Our hope is that our findings can contribute to our collective desire as a sport system to ensure a safe, equitable, respectful and athlete centered experience.”

For more information about A&R and for facility and program updates, visit gogaelsgo.com