The last 2 years have witnessed a tremendous rise in esports in the US and, with it, a growing concern about the lack of diversity and its underlying probable cause: toxicity toward women and minorities. The popularity of this new pastime among undergraduates has skyrocketed and club leagues are quickly transitioning into collegiate sports, leaving universities to rapidly catch up with student demand in order to attract and keep a technologically adept incoming student body.
University of California, Irvine has become a leader in collegiate esports programs, boasting a centrally located, dedicated esports arena, an active gaming study body (72%), and undergraduate scholarships. Our goal is to be a leader not merely on the digital field; however. Our goal is to also live up to our own long standing commitment to diversity and inclusion across all aspects of campus life.
Toward these ends, we established the Diversity and Inclusion in Esports Task Force in Spring of 2017 that was charged with developing a strategy for addressing the challenge of diversity and inclusion within the UCI Esports program. In the following UCI Esports Inclusivity Plan, we detail our strategy for accomplishing this. As university esports programs emerge nationwide, so too must campus policies and practices that ensure a welcoming and safe environment for all students.
If you have any questions or comments regarding our inclusivity efforts, this document, or the Task Force, please feel free to contact our Chair, Constance Steinkuehler Squire at firstname.lastname@example.org.