UNB to reinstate women's hockey in 2018-19
Announcement brings end to human rights complaint filed in 2009 by Sylvia (Bryson) Dooley
The University of New Brunswick will reinstate women's varsity hockey at the Atlantic University Sport and U Sports Canada level starting in the 2018-2019 season, bringing an end to a human rights complaint filed in 2009.
The announcement, made on Monday morning, is part of an agreement reached between UNB, the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission and former UNB women's hockey player Sylvia (Bryson) Dooley.
Dooley had filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission about the university's 2008 decision to disband the varsity women's hockey hockey team it had operated since 2001 and give the program a lower club status. She argued the decision amounted to gender discrimination because UNB's men's hockey team was maintained.
On March 2, the Labour and Employment Board issued a ruling in Dooley's favour, compelling the university to reinstate a women's varsity hockey team by 2017.
UNB had applied for a judicial review of the ruling and had also struck a task force in June to review the matter. The task force recommended the parties enter a settlement conference to attempt to resolve the issues in dispute.
This has always been what we were after, what we thought was right.- Sylvia Dooley
As part of the agreement announced Monday, UNB has agreed to withdraw its application for a judicial review.
The university will also revisit its gender equity policy and provide the commission and Dooley with its revised policy by Sept. 1, it states.
"This has always been what we were after, what we thought was right," Dooley told CBC News on Monday. "So we're very pleased that this will finally happen."
'It was the principle of it'
Dooley noted that 2018, when the team is reinstated, will mark just over a decade since it was stripped of funding and downgraded, but she said her lengthy battle has been worthwhile.
"It was the principle of it and doing what's right," she said.
UNB will also:
- Hire a full-time head coach, who will be provided with "resources to build the team and recruit student athletes."
- Invest in the infrastructure of the Aitken Centre to create a new coach's office, therapy room and locker room for the women's varsity hockey team.
- Provide resources for equipment and player supplies.
- Provide athletic financial awards.
Dooley said she was pleased the matter was resolved through the settlement conference rather than proceeding to UNB's appeal.
"I felt that would be a more positive way to move forward," she said, describing the process as "very respectful."
With files from Philip Drost