The University of Ottawa will not comment on the decision rendered today by the Ontario Court of Justice in the sexual assault trial of two former Gee-Gees hockey players.
As we have stated previously, the University’s 2014 decision to suspend the men’s hockey program was based on the serious nature of allegations against team members and following the results of an independent investigation into the events in Thunder Bay that illustrated widespread misconduct unbecoming of University representatives. Today’s court ruling has no impact on that decision.
Additionally, the University has presented its statement of defense in a related class action lawsuit. Our statement speaks for itself and the University will not comment further on its substance.
Since 2014, the University of Ottawa has taken several key steps to counter sexual violence and harassment on campus, including the creation of a Task Force on Respect and Equality, along with an Action Team to implement the Task Force’s recommendations.
The University followed up on these efforts with the development and adoption in 2016 of a campus-wide policy on the prevention of sexual violence. This survivor-centric policy aims to maintain a campus culture that fosters respect for every individual in a University-wide environment that is free of harassment, discrimination and sexual violence. This policy takes into consideration how difficult it is for survivors to come forward.
Following the suspension of the hockey program, the University implemented new measures to provide student-athletes, coaches, administration and support staff in all varsity and competitive club sports with the support they need to ensure respectful and appropriate conduct. The University believes that these measures have fostered a positive environment for student-athletes and coaching staff.
The men’s varsity hockey program was relaunched in 2016 and this past season, the team made the playoffs for the second consecutive season under the leadership of Patrick Grandmaître.