About Athletic Equity and Safety

Safety in sport encompasses measures and initiatives that ensure all individuals, regardless of their background or identity, can participate in sport without facing discrimination, exclusion, or harm.   

We acknowledge that broader societal issues, including sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response, equity, anti-racism, accessibility, and inclusion, must be addressed to promote a fair, welcoming, and supportive environment for everyone involved in sport at StFX.  

  • Safety beyond the physical: Ensuring safety in sports goes beyond just physical well-being. Emotional, psychological, and social safety are equally important. Student-athletes, coaches, and all involved should feel secure, not just in terms of physical harm, but also from discrimination, harassment, and exclusion.  

  • Addressing societal issues: It's imperative to recognize that sports are interconnected with broader social issues. Concerns like sexual violence, gender-based violence (GBV) and gender inequity are interlinked with sports. We recognize the intersectionality of student-athletes and ways in which current and ongoing experiences can exacerbate harm. Addressing these issues requires a holistic approach, which includes education, awareness, and training for athletes and staff.  

  • Intersection of gender-based violence (GBV) and gender inequity: The intersection of GBV and gender inequity is a critical point to consider. Gender inequity can contribute to an environment where GBV is more likely to occur. By promoting gender equity, we can reduce the risk of GBV in sports. This can involve policies that promote equal opportunities, fair treatment, and respect for all genders and programs that ensure ongoing education and training. 

  • Cultural shift: Achieving cultural shift within the sports community is challenging but essential. It involves changing attitudes, behaviors, and norms. Education and awareness campaigns and programs can help challenge stereotypes and biases that perpetuate inequities and violence.  

  • Policy and culture: While policies are important for setting standards and expectations, they must be complemented by efforts to review and enhance our culture. Policies alone may not be effective if they are not supported by a collective commitment to improvement. Program enhancement, encouraging open dialogue, inclusivity, and a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and violence can foster this cultural shift. Ongoing effort and leadership from within the sports community, and collaboration with external organizations and experts is essential. It also necessitates a commitment to holding individuals and institutions accountable for their actions.  

  • Creating a welcoming environment: Ultimately, the goal is to create a sports environment that is fair, welcoming, and supportive for everyone. This includes providing resources and support for victims of GBV, promoting diversity and belonging, and actively challenging and changing any cultural norms that perpetuate harm or inequity. 

Ensuring safety and promoting equity in sports at StFX involves not only the development of robust policies, but also a concerted effort to enhance the culture within the sports community.  Our cultural shift should prioritize inclusivity, gender equity, and the prevention of GBV, contributing to an environment where everyone can participate and flourish. 

In recognition of these dynamics within postsecondary athletics, the Committees of Atlantic University Sports, and the national university governing sport organization, U Sports, are concurrently advancing policy and programs related to equity and safety in sport. STFX Athletics is committed to adhering to the policies and practices of the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS). This document sets harmonized rules that have been adopted by sport organizations to advance a respectful sport culture that delivers quality, inclusive, accessible, welcoming and safe sport experiences.

As a member of Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and U Sports, we are committed to driving positive social change within the Canadian university sport system, including the adoption and implementation of all regional and national policies and programs related to equity and safety in sport. An overview of work completed by the Department of Athletics to date is available here.