The following statement was issued Friday, March 20, by Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Ollivier Dyens and Drew Love, Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation:
A recent request that McGill provide women-only hours in its Athletics fitness centre has prompted discussion and debate on and off campus. The University has taken some time to consider, from various points of view, what is a challenging issue.
On Thursday, March 19, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Ollivier Dyens and Drew Love, Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation, met the students who made the initial request, in order to listen and more fully understand their needs.
The Deputy Provost and Executive Director of Athletics explained that McGill would work – both within our resource constraints and the context of our fundamental principles as a secular, co-educational institution – to accommodate the students’ needs as fully as possible.
McGill is a community where every form of diversity (cultural, linguistic, gender, religion, etc.) is celebrated and encouraged. We do not believe in the segregation of our services, although, to address concerns about modesty, we have established women-only hours at the swimming pool, by its nature a different environment than the gym.
When we renovated and expanded our fitness centre a couple of years ago, we did so with an eye to making the facility as comfortable as possible for all our clientele. We encourage and will continue to encourage all our patrons to engage respectfully with one another, just as we expect all members of our community to treat each other equitably and respectfully in whatever context.
Accordingly, we have determined that separate hours for women will not be established at the fitness centre. But we will continue our efforts to
- create the best, most open, and safest environment possible, where everyone is treated equitably;
- encourage feedback from the community at any time on how to do so;
- promote education and training for our staff and fitness centre users to ensure they understand the various needs and sensitivities of a diverse clientele.