Weight room clothing guidelines now facility-wide
The Santa Clara
September 28, 2017
Gone are the days of sporting bro tanks and exposed midriffs during oncampus workouts.
In July, the Malley Fitness and Recreation Center built upon the dress code policy implemented in March 2016 and expanded it to include the entire facility, not just the weight room.
Between Malley’s opening in 1999 and early 2016, weight room apparel rules remained the same: for hygiene and cleanliness, all participants’ midriffs must be covered, according to an article published in The Santa Clara last year.
In 2016, the clothing guidelines were changed to be more up-to-date and gender neutral after a two-month process of surveying other universities and meeting with the University Policy Committee.
According to a March 2016 email sent by Janice DeMonsi, Director of Recreation at Santa Clara, “(gym) apparel needs to cover the trunk,” meaning that patrons must wear tops that completely covers the body from the armpits down.
In the past, the dress code has been criticized for specifically targeting women’s apparel.
One such event occurred in Jan. 2016, just two months before Malley decided to update their policy.
The particular incident involved a first-year Santa Clara student being asked to leave the weight room by a Malley employee due to the fact that her exposed midriff was “against Jesuit values.”
It was later clarified that employee’s interpretation of the the no-midriff rule was incorrect.
The policy’s intention is to limit sweat on equipment and skin exposure to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), a staph infection.
MRSA is commonly spread through skin-to-skin contact or a skin-to-skin contaminated object, such as workout equipment.
Nonetheless, the student chose to take to Facebook to express her concern.
In her online post, the first-year talked about how the policy unfairly targeted women and made a point to mention that there is no shortage of muscle-tee-wearing men in the gym “sweating directly onto the equipment.”
“One of the rules in the gym is to wipe down equipment after use. Why are women being singled out and punished just because other people can’t follow the rules?” the first-year wrote in her post.
The student’s post went viral and the story was picked up by outlets such as Buzzfeed News, Huffington Post, Seventeen Magazine, USA Today College and the Santa Clara University chapter of Her Campus.
Following this controversial event, Malley Center staff explored dress code updates and implemented a new policy, but only for the weight room.
“When we were researching the weight room policy in the winter quarter of 2016, we learned that most universities’ recreational facilities had a shirt policy for the entire facility and not just the weight room,” said DeMonsi. “We struggled with whether to implement for just the weight room or the facility. We decided weight room; and the more I looked at other campus or read list-serves about dresscodes—it is a best practice to have it for the facility.”
The facility-wide dress code means no more “shirts versus skins” basketball games or yoga class attendees wearing outfits consisting solely of a sports bra and leggings.
Hannah Stall, a Santa Clara sophomore and yoga enthusiast, expressed concern about having a dress code for recreation room classes like yoga.
“I wear a sports bra and leggings to yoga because it’s all about feeling good about yourself,” Stall said. “When you are being told what to wear and told what to look like, it’s not fun. If sweat really is a concern, people should be asked to bring their own mats or towels to class.”
If patrons enter the Malley facility violating the dress code, staff members have been trained to address the situation.
“We’ve been told to politely inform the patron that they are violating our facilitywide shirt policy and need to change in order to continue their workout,” Malley employee Madi Clelland said.
Contact Kimi Andrew at kandrew@scu. edu or call (408) 554-4852.