The Recreation and Athletics Center (TRAC) is the ISU campus gymnasium accessible to all students. Recently a student named Sophia Moore went to TRAC to train. Moore said that, while at the gym, a student approached her with two t-shirts on and said she was not allowed to wear her current shirt. She said, honestly, I thought he bothered me at first, so I stared blankly at him until I realized he was, in fact, serious. He offered me a shirt to change into, and I went to the locker room and got changed. Moore was deeply upset by this situation, especially since her outfit was nothing out of the ordinary. In her own words, she was wearing high waisted leggings and a cropped t-shirt. The t-shirt in question only showed about two inches from her stomach.
Moore said the reason this situation upset her so much is because the rules are not applied evenly between men and women. She states that the men went to the gym with cut-offs that show a lot more skin than her outfit did that day. To demonstrate student body agreement, Moore created the virtual petition titled Be allowed to wear short shirts to train at a public university, which collected more than 368 virtual signatures. Many of the comments agreed with her that the policy is more female-oriented, with one commenter writing: I’m signing because it’s time to stop monitoring women’s bodies.
The university is trying to respond to this policy in several ways. To begin with, James Koeppe, the campus recreation director, answered the dress code question. He did not know that the students felt the policies were applied unfairly and said, I will remind the staff at Campus Rec to apply the policies fairly and equitably and share with them what is said. carry. This dress code policy at TRAC was specifically created to reduce the transmission of communicable diseases through the sharing of training equipment. While the intent of the policy is good, Koeppe says he asks his colleagues in the field to review the policy and [is] work with University legal staff. While it may take time to understand the future of this policy, TRAC is working to discuss the pros and cons of the policy that remains in place.
In response to the health concerns, Moore made a valid point. She states, on top of that, I have reviewed the facility rules of other schools in the U of I system … their rules do not show a belly problem. UIC policies actually encourage people to wear what they feel comfortable in. ISU is the only school in the U of I system to adopt this type of dress code policy.
The student government is also involved in this issue. At the SGA meeting on February 7, President Aislinn Diaz brought the dress code issue to the attention of members. When asked to comment on this issue, President Aislinn Diaz and Treasurer Max Pernitsky commented on how the student government and the school should move forward. To begin with, Diaz said:
As LMS, we will not let the voices of over 300 students go unnoticed. While it is understood that the policy has been put in place to ensure student safety, it has been noted that it is mainly applied to women rather than men. Whether intentional or not, TRAC administrators have been notified and must now correct this. SGA will continue to monitor and communicate with administrators to ensure that a solution is presented in a timely manner.
The dress code situation at TRAC is sad As a former athlete and certified sports official, I don’t understand how they call this problem a health issue. However, I trust our administration and believe it will find a solution. That being said, I support all students and their voices, and I will be monitoring this ongoing situation.
While there is no overnight solution to this problem, the dress code policy at TRAC is under review. It is important that students continue to use their voices to show the ways the university can improve. It is also essential that those in power, such as administrators and student government officials, continue to listen to students.
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