Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Albany Knickerbocker Rugby Football Club
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Mission Statement
The Albany Knickerbocker Rugby Football Club (AKRFC) will take intentional actions to make rugby inclusive, as is the spirit of the game. Our efforts will create an environment that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across the Club, its affiliates, and the greater community.
To demonstrate our commitment, the AKRFC has developed a DEI Committee to create meaningful policies that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within membership to the Club, coaching staff, and its administration.
This Policy sets out our commitment to DEI Standards, including a Code of Conduct and a Reporting Procedure. It supports our overall aims for diversity, equity, and inclusion to:
Ensure rugby is diverse, equitable, and inclusive;
Embed diversity, equity, and inclusion in our Club’s culture;
Ensure Club member behaviors promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture;
Create a culture where inclusive leadership thrives; and
Take a proactive approach to ensure that communities and individuals are valued and able to achieve their full potential
To achieve these aims, we believe that everyone involved in our club has a vital role in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. We ask everyone to take action against all forms of discrimination.
We are proud to have a DEI Policy that demonstrates our commitment to making rugby diverse and inclusive.
Together, we can make a positive difference for people from different backgrounds to participate in rugby at our Club and at large.
1. Policy Statement
This DEI Policy, Standards, Code of Conduct and Reporting Procedure apply to all AKRFC members, coaches, spectators, as well as our sponsors and affiliates. As a Club, we contribute actively to enable more people to play rugby more often, in a safe, inclusive, and fair manner bywelcoming all individuals regardless of their race, color, size, religion, national origin (ancestry) and citizenship, gender, gender expression, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background and status, military status, in any of its activities or operations. Furthermore, discrimination based on the above, or any other social identity category and/or defining characteristic, will not be tolerated. The AKRFC is committed to making our Club a safe environment in which Clubmembers' rights, dignity, and individual worth are respected. We will institute, support, and contribute to appropriate measures or initiatives that enable access to rugby and participation in associated activities by people from any group under-represented in rugby or who have difficulty accessing it and can do so with dignity or without being singled out. We want our Club to be an environment where folks from all walks of life can come together, with mutual respect for one another, and play the sport we love. To foster this environment, we are working to improve our policies and procedures to ensure that our DEI policies are woven into every aspect of our Club's operations.
2. Use of Terminology
We have adopted the following definitions to explain our approach to diversity and inclusion in rugby:
Discrimination – treating someone in a less favorable way and causing them harm, because of their race, color, size, religion, national origin (ancestry) and citizenship, gender, gender expression, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background and status, military status, or any other social identity category and/or defining characteristic. Diversity – acknowledging, celebrating and respecting the differences between groups of people and between individuals.
Equity - the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.
Harassment – unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The focus is on the perception of the complainant not the intent of the perpetrator. Members can complain of behavior they find offensive even if it is not directed at them.
Inclusion – ensuring that rugby is equally accessible to any member of the community so they can be fully involved in whatever capacity they choose; and that they are supported to achieve their potential in any capacity e.g. player, supporter, volunteer, coach or official.
Positive action – commitment to taking positive steps to counteract the effects of physical or cultural barriers – whether real or perceived – that restrict the opportunity for all sections of the community to participate equally and fully.
The Albany Knicks have direct inclusive responsibility for and support the development of good DEI practices to:
Coaches and players;
Supporters and spectators;
Sponsors and affiliates;
Events and programs run by the club; and
Venues where club events are held.
4. Responsibility for implementation of the DEI Policy
Diversity, equity, and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility: not responding to discriminatory or unacceptable language and behavior is not an option.
The DEI Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Board will all be responsible for working to improve our policies and procedures to ensure that our DEI values are woven into every aspect of our Club’s operations.
The Club’s DEI Committee has overall accountability for this Policy and Reporting Procedure, for being the strategic lead on diversity and inclusion and for ensuring compliance. The Executive Committee will review and support this effort.
The DEI Committee are responsible for updating this Policy and Reporting Procedure as required; and will develop a strategic and proactive approach to diversity and inclusion and respond to discrimination concerns.
All players, coaches, officials, volunteers & spectators involved in rugby are responsible for raising diversity and inclusion concerns with the Club’s DEI Committee to start with as outlined in the Reporting Procedure.
Players and parents are responsible for upholding the Code of Conduct and Reporting Procedure.
The Albany Knicks are committed to:
Formally adopting this Policy;
Taking steps to ensure that our leaders, members, participants and volunteers behave in accordance with the Policy, including where appropriate taking disciplinary action under our constitution;
Ensuring that access to membership as well as access to participation is open and inclusive; and
Providing a safe environment for reporting concerns and offering times to discuss cultural concerns within our club on a regular basis
5. Breaches of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy, Code of Conduct, and Reporting Procedure
Where there are concerns that DEI good practice has not been followed, all members are encouraged to report their concerns so that they may be addressed.
Breaches of this Policy and/or failure to comply with the outlined responsibilities may result in the following by the Albany Knicks:
Venues – Removal of AKRFC attendance
Sponsors/Affiliates - Disaffiliation with the business and removal of any promotional items shared through the Albany Knicks
Players/Parents– Disciplinary action leading to dismissal
Coaches/Club Leader/Volunteers – Termination of current and future roles
Actions taken by volunteers, coaches, venues, sponsors/affiliates, or players that are seen to contradict this Policy may be considered a violation of this Policy. The DEI Committee in tandem with the Executive Committee will be responsible for investigating and making a final determination on any breach of the Policy.
Albany Knicks Code of Conduct
Prioritize the well-being of all children and adults at all times
Be a positive role model. Act with integrity, even when no one is looking
Help to create a safe and inclusive environment both on and off the pitch
Value and celebrate diversity and make all reasonable efforts to meet individual needs
Ensure your own roles and responsibilities, and those of everyone you are responsible for, are clearly outlined and everyone has the information, training and support to carry them out
Do not abuse, neglect, harm or discriminate against anyone; or act in a way that may be interpreted as such
Doing nothing is NOT an option: report all concerns and disclosures as soon as possible, following the Concern Reporting Procedure. If someone is in immediate danger, dial 911
Make our Club accessible to all who wish to play, coach, or spectate by removing barriers caused by social injustice and racial inequality
Anyone who has concerns that they or someone else is being discriminated against or has been a victim of discriminatory language or behavior should:
The DEI Committee, with collaboration from the Executive Committee and Board, reserves the right to update this document as they see fit, and will notify all club members of any updates. As a player, you agree to the code of conduct one time and are obligated to read, understand and agree to any future updates. In the event that a Club member should have any disagreements with the above, they will be responsible to voice and address these concerns prior to signing the player agreement.