UPEI says it is “disappointed” NDP Leader Mike Redmond has filed a human rights complaint against the university alleging the way it funds athletics is discriminatory because it favours men over women.
Redmond, who is a former UPEI women’s soccer coach, says he spoke with representatives from UPEI and Atlantic University Sport about the issue but didn’t get the response he was looking for so the human rights complaint was the next step.
“It needs to be addressed,” he said.
The complaint, filed with the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission in September, said there has been an ongoing practice of gender inequity between male and female athletics at UPEI.
In a statement issued Wednesday, UPEI vice-president of administration and finance, Jackie Podger, said their primary goal is to ensure that all of their stakeholders “…experience quality athletics and recreation programming, in an equitable manner, and in ways that contribute to our overall success.
“UPEI offers sport and recreation opportunities that are open to all, allocating scarce resources based on needs, demand, and the university’s over-arching goals.”
The university says the department of athletics and recreation has been reviewing all of its operations and has initiated a number of processes and programs to improve their offerings.
“Because of these continuing efforts, we were disappointed to hear of former soccer coach Mr. Redmond’s gender equity complaint, filed through the Human Rights Commission. We always have taken concerns about ‘fair play’ very seriously and, therefore, UPEI will be cooperating fully with the commission, following its process.”
Redmond’s complaint cited several examples, including core funding given to men’s hockey while the women’s team gets none and preferential treatment when it comes to use of the team bus.
In discussing the complaint, Redmond said the core funding should be equal for everything, including coaching, equipment, travel and marketing.
“You need to be respectful of the fact it’s the taxpayers of this province and this country that fund your institution and you have a right to ensure men and women are treated equally,” Redmond said.