On the evening of Monday, Sept. 12, two staff members of the RWU Athletic Department, Mike Gallagher and Dr. Mark Andreozzi, met with Student Senate to present and discuss a future dress code policy for the Fitness Center. Since this meeting has taken place, speculation and misinformation have circulated through campus; many students are both surprised by and angry with the new policy and what it could entail.
The new dress code, in its proposed form, forbids clothing that significantly exposes the chest, midriff, lower back, and sides (such as crop tops, stringer tank tops, or sports bras); racerback tanks that expose skin below the shoulder blades; and shorts that don’t fully cover all areas of the glutes. It does not forbid tank tops, and for women it should be clarified that if your tank top meets the above requirements then the “no exposed sports bra” rule does not apply.
The general rule of thumb is to have your back and chest covered, with the sides of your shirt not falling below the bottom of your shoulder blades. More customary rules outlined by the policy are that shoes are required in all activity areas, and you cannot wear jean or khaki materials, clothing with metal pieces attached, or open toed or slip-on shoes.
The reason for the implementation of this policy is both for sanitation and for the comfort of all patrons of the Fitness Center. Reducing the amount of skin-to-machine contact reduces the potential for the contraction of serious infections such as MRSA or staph. It is a preventative measure rather than a reactive one.
At least 75 students, active Fitness Center users themselves, were consulted in the creation of this policy and their opinions regarding it were taken into account. It was the consensus of the Athletic Department after comparing the policies of other universities and reviewing the situation at RWU that a dress code policy should be instituted.
“It is not intended to restrict anybody,” said Mike Gallagher. “It is primarily intended for sanitary reasons. I hope that with just a bit of time, students find it very simple to follow and will continue to engage the Fitness Center.”
It should be pointed out that while this policy is planned to be implemented this semester, it is not yet set in stone.
“We are receptive to everyone’s thoughts, comments, or criticism. We’re open to suggestions,” said Mike Gallagher.
It is the hope of the Athletic Department that students keep an open mind and not make assumptions about the policy. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the policy, it is encouraged that you reach out to Mike Gallagher (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Mark Andreozzi (email@example.com), both of whom are happy to speak with you.
A full account of this story, containing interviews with both Mike Gallagher and students who work at the Fitness Center, can be found in this Thursday’s issue of The Hawks’ Herald.