The new Student Recreation Center (SRC) posted their official facility guidelines earlier last week. Listed under the section “Clothing Standards” on the Inside SOU website include: “attire must cover chest, abdomen, back and side areas from hip to armpit” and “shorts must be long enough to cover the buttocks and groin while exercising or moving.” The dress code is not in an attempt at modesty, though. The online regulations state, “In an effort to promote safety, reduce the spread of communicable diseases, and to prevent additional wear and tear on the facility/equipment, all members and guests must adhere to the clothing standards to participate in the SRC.”
Staff members have enforced this dress code since they started letting students into the gym. Hannah Ross, a student at SOU said, “I was working out in the new rec center and was doing some ab workouts with my friends. The gym is pretty hot, so we took off our shirts like any sane person would do. We were just minding our own business when a student worker came up to us and explained how we couldn’t just be in our sports bras.” Per dress code guidelines that patrons sign before working out, “Attire must cover chest, abdomen, back and side areas from hip to armpit.” Thus, wearing only a sports bra is prohibited. However, Ross wanted more information. “I was frustrated and asked for the manager,” she explained. “After a few minutes she came up to me and kindly explained that the policy had nothing to do with showing too much skin, but rather to protect the equipment from sweat.” Sharing sweaty equipment can cause skin diseases per a 2010 New York Times article, but Ross concluded that “maybe hiring more students to clean the equipment would be a better option.”
Another student, David Langston has experienced two dress code violations since the gym’s opening. “The first time I got dress coded, it was the first or second day the gym opened. I was wearing a cut off, and basically a student employee had been following me around a lot, which was irritating. She told me that it was against the rules, and she was very confrontational about it,” he said.
“She said it loudly enough that it was a little embarrassing, but it was something that they hadn’t and haven’t been enforcing across the board.” Langston continued, “The second time was similar, but I was not wearing my cut off, it was just a tank top. A girl came up to me and told me I needed to put my other long sleeve shirt on.”
Front desk and fitness assistant, Sarah Klein, was not sure when the official dress code was posted but said, “We [staff] did have an idea of what it was, but it was probably posted on the opening day.” Klein also explained how the staff enforce the dress code. “Sometimes we do it as they walk in, if we don’t catch it then we’ll let them know when they’re in the gym.” Klein added that the staff “…are trying to move towards having spare shirts in case somebody has broken the dress code.”
The most common violations seen by the staff, “…guys with the cut off muscle shirts,” said Klein. “The second [most common] is people like to take their shoes off on the mats when they’re stretching.” Klein concluded with the justification for the dress code:“Mainly it’s because of infection controls, and with the muscle tanks there are things that can pass through sweat.”
The SRC facility director, Hugues Lecomte, did not respond for The Siskiyou’s request for comment.