by Juliana Walter
Some students at The University of Tampa are questioning the school’s Fitness Center dress code after multiple girls have been asked to leave based on their clothing.
According to UT’s Fitness Center dress code policy, “proper athletic clothing and close toed shoes are required to be worn at all times. Full length shirts must be worn at all times and should cover all areas of the skin which may come in contact with fitness equipment.” This policy can be found on the Fitness Center’s website. Many students believe this rule is unfair, particularly to female students who work out in the Fitness Center.
Anastasia Swetz, a sophomore, has been asked to leave the Fitness Center twice based on her clothing. Both times Swetz was wearing, what she described as “a slightly cropped tank top and high-waisted leggings.”
A study done by Fitness Magazine showed that over 64% of women try to avoid the gym based on the fear of being judged. With multiple girls already being asked to leave, Swetz feels this promotes the feeling of women being judged in work-out settings.
“I was never told what the dress code was for the Fitness Center,” said Swetz. “So, I was pretty confused and embarrassed when they asked me to leave based on it.”
Although the dress code is posted on the Fitness Center’s website, most students are not aware of it. Since many girls are unaware of the dress code, they already have been finding themselves being asked to leave the fitness center.
Meghan Everson, coordinator of Facilities and Operations for Campus Recreation, is involved in creating rules for various recreation spaces around UT’s campus.
“The dress code is there to help minimize injuries that could happen on the machines,” said Everson. “It is also important to make everyone feel comfortable in the Fitness Center.”
Fitness Center employees are instructed to ask individuals to not use equipment and leave the gym if they are not in dress-code appropriate clothing. In past semesters, the dress code was not as heavily enforced. But this year, the Fitness Center is encouraging their employees to act when they see issues.
Assistant director of Fitness, Abby McElligott, said her main concern is keeping students safe when using the Fitness Center’s equipment.
“We try to limit most skin to skin contact with the machines,” said McElligott. “We always tell our employees to be kind and understanding to students when asking them to leave because we know it is a sensitive topic.”
Nevertheless, female students have begun to attend different gyms to avoid having to leave the Fitness Center based on their clothing.
Juliana Walter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org