The University of Guelph along with a group of alumni athletes is starting a restorative process aimed at fostering a safer and healthier sport culture at U of G and beyond. Over the past few years, the University has been working with these alumni as well as external facilitators to create a process where U of G and other institutions can learn from athletes’ past experiences to improve athletics programs.

U of G’s Department of Athletics has taken action in fostering safe sport culture and this restorative process represents an opportunity to expand on the momentum of positive change that has already occurred. The Department’s commitment to safe sport includes adopting the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport and for U of G’s sport and recreation environment to be free from physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Further details about safe sport at U of G can be found on the Department’s website.

Restorative process will build further understanding and help learn from the past

The restorative process is focused on hearing from former athletes as well as current and former staff who were connected to U of G’s cross-country and middle-distance programs between 1997 and 2020. This period represents a time of unhealthy culture within these programs. Invitations to participate in the restorative process and learn more about what this entails are being sent directly to potential participants.

Participants will join group or one-on-one sessions with external facilitators to discuss their experiences and perspectives. Key ideas, insights and themes from these discussions will be summarized and anonymized by the external facilitators and reviewed by the restorative process design group and U of G leadership. Informed by these learnings, U of G will provide opportunities to bring individuals and organizations together to discuss how to best support the University’s ongoing commitment to contributing to a safer and healthier sport culture on campus and beyond.

U of G cares deeply about the experiences of student-athletes, staff and the alumni community. Hearing directly from past student-athletes, staff and alumni is critical for creating environments where everyone can feel safe and supported. The University is committed to learning how it can continue to strengthen broader institutional response mechanisms and best support the well-being and success of students.