Social media has many perils and pitfalls for student-athletes, but sometimes leveraging these tools can help apply pressure to people in power and lead to change.
That’s what happened at the University of British Columbia, after a women’s hockey player called out the school for its policy of automatically scheduling men’s games after women’s games for being discriminatory.
Fourth-year women’s hockey player Mikayla Ogrodniczuk used her Twitter platform to address the school and university president Santa Ono, writing “When your team has to move their playoff games to accommodate the men’s team who finished lower in the standings. Gender equity? I think not.”
When your team has to move their playoff games to accommodate the men’s team who finished lower in the standings. Gender equality? I think not. Another example of women at university being passed over for men. @ubcprez @UBC— Mikayla Ogrodniczuk (@m_ogrodniczuk) February 10, 2019
According to the CBC, the women will take the ice at an earlier, less desirable time despite finishing higher in the Canada West standings. The women’s team finished third, while the men were in fourth place.
Ogrodniczuk’s tweet helped lead to a change in policy. UBC athletic director Gilles Lepine met with coaches and players, and moving forward will provide later game times to the better-performing team.
“I don’t think it was a conspiracy coming from us,” Lepine said, “But it’s clear now after having a discussion … that in the future the choice will come to the team with the highest ranking.”
The new policy will go into effect on Monday. Though it’s rare that both men and women’s teams play at home on the same day, it could happen throughout the playoffs. If the scheduling issue comes up again, the women’s team will get its choice of start time based on their better record.