Students share UREC dress code concerns

Policy may change based on student unease, director says


Courtesy of Unsplash

Some students have questioned whether UREC dress codes are being enforced fairly and if they need to be changed for clarity.

HANNAH WELZBACKER, Evergreen reporter

University Recreation is working to increase awareness of its dress code policy after students said they were wrongly asked to change.

Sophie Marshall, a sophomore studying kinesiology, said she was wearing a crop top when a weight room attendant at the Student Recreation Center asked her to change.

“The crop top was barely above the waist of my pants,” she said, “so almost no skin was showing.”

Marshall believes this policy is unfair to women, because she said she saw men with low-cut shirts who were not asked to change.

According to the dress code listed under “General Policies” on the UREC website, “patrons must wear shirts in all facilities.” However, Marshall said, there is no mention of crop tops being against the UREC’s rules.

Along with the general dress code, there is also a specific code for using weight room equipment. According to the website, “while using equipment and mats in the weight rooms or cardio areas, shirts that cover the shoulders and back must be worn to protect the equipment and promote cleanliness and hygiene.”

Jeff Elbracht, the UREC director of facilities, said the policies are in place to minimize skin contact and individuals sweating on each other or facilities. The dress code was created using recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as adapted from common practices in recreation centers across the country.

“With over 3,000 visitors a day,” Elbracht said, “we are focused on keeping patrons safe.”

Elbracht said one-third of people are carriers of staphylococcus aureus, or staph infection, which is a type of bacteria that lives on the skin or nose, and normally does not cause problems. However, carriers can spread staph to others and can cause serious infections.

“If a patron is wearing clothing against our code,” Elbracht said, “we first ask them to [comply] with the policies and then try to educate them.”

He said he understands the policy is only stated online and students are often unaware.

“We are realizing that more signs in the building related to this issue would help educate and protect patrons,” Elbracht said.

If a patron has concerns, he said, they can fill out a comment card, attend an open comment session or contact staff directly through the website.

The UREC Facebook page responded to a student’s concerns regarding their policies on tank tops in the weight room, saying it has not changed its dress code and that tank tops that are not crop tops are permitted.

Benicia Garcia, a junior studying communication, said she was asked to change after wearing a sleeveless cropped hoodie. She was provided a shirt to change into. However, Garcia said, being confronted around other patrons was an embarrassing experience.

She said the attendant she spoke with told her this was not a new policy, and that they are only trying to enforce the current one.

Elbracht said UREC is gathering feedback on the dress code and considering changing it, based on student concerns.