'There's a lot of work to be done': Racism present in university sports, OUA survey shows
A new survey conducted by Ontario University Athletics (OUA) shows racism is present in every one of its programs.
OUA represents more than 11,000 people including student athletes, coaches and administrators. Just under half of the membership completed the survey, and of those, nearly three-quarters identified as white.
"There's a lot of work to be done, there is," said Gord Grace, OUA's president.
Some respondents said they are not aware of racism in their school or sport. The OUA said those members may be in need of education.
Beyond education, findings also showed other areas that need improvement, including recruitment, supports and accountability.
For athlete recruitment, the survey found "club-level athletes whose parents make donations are more likely to be recruited."
For staff, some respondents stated white coaches did not face the same scrutiny when applying for a job.
Student athlete Martha Yiridoe, who is also co-chair of the University of Guelph Athletic's Equity, Inclusion and Diversity advisory committee, said she wasn't surprised by the survey results.
"I find for most people it wasn't a surprise, however for some people it may have been a surprise," she said.
Yiridoe said although she feels comfortable at her school, she understands why some don't.
"You want to come and you want to see yourself represented and you want to be able to feel comfortable in the environment," she said. "That's one thing I look for especially when I was coming to Guelph."
"I think you'd be ignorant to admit it doesn't exist everywhere. It's in our hierarchy, in our structure in education and it exists in sport as well," said Roly Webster, the University of Waterloo's director of Athletics and Recreation. "I think one of the bigger barriers is higher education and so how do we diversify that?"
OUA promises change is coming.
"We are committed to making those changes," Grace said.