THE SANTA CLARA
January 28, 2016
First year student Grace DiChristina went to Malley Fitness Center to workout on January 19th. Unfortunately, within minutes of setting foot inside Malley, an employee asked her to leave.
The gym supervisor told her that she needed to leave because her exposed midriff conflicts with Santa Clara’s Jesuit values and the policies of Facilities and Campus Recreation at Santa Clara, which states: “all participants’ mid-riffs must be covered (no sport bras; participants must wear a t-shirt or tank top).” DiChristina reluctantly complied and left.
The last time I checked, the oppression of women is not a Jesuit value.
If a woman is asked to leave the gym because her midsection is exposed, shouldn’t the guy with the cutoff shirt showing his nipple be asked to leave too? Or what about the shirtless dudes playing five on five basketball?
Sure, I have a few Women and Gender Studies classes under my belt (shout-out to the core), but I am no expert on pointing out an act of sexism. However, I do know one thing—kicking DiChristina out of the gym was wrong. DiChristina should not be asked to cover up.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this happened at the university.
DiChristina told me that during her second week of college, she went to the gym in similar attire and was told that she needed to change.
Luckily, DiChristina was on her way out so she simply proceeded to go home. Now, this is not just an inappropriate act committed against DiChristina.
This is an injustice against women everywhere and is proof that systemic sexism exists everywhere in our society.
Over the summer, I worked as an Orientation Leader, sharing Santa Clara’s values with incoming students. The values I thought I stood for.
As someone who worked tirelessly to represent the university, I am shocked that this was allowed to happen.
DiChristina said the supervisor told her the policy banning exposed midriffs had “been a rule for a while.” I am appalled that this mysogenistic policy is just generally accepted without question.
“I don’t go to the gym so guys can look at me, I go to the gym to exercise and stay healthy,” DiChristina said. She should not have been asked to leave because showing her belly button is considered scandalous at a Jesuit institution.
It’s the twenty first century, Santa Clara. We are at the cutting edge of education and have an opportunity to change the world. It’s about time we start acting like it.
Austin Dierks is a sophomore and a physics and mathematics major.