Students participate in a dance class in the ARC for Lemonade Week. Students have been told to cover their torsos when working out at the arc. Photo by Chad Pasinger

By Tori Hardy, Staff Writer—

Some female students were recently asked to cover their sports bras up with a t-shirt while they were working out at the ARC, which is causing some students to question the facility’s dress code. 

Destiny Mix, a junior from Lawrenceburg, said that she and a friend were both recently told that they could not wear their sports bras alone while they were working out in the ARC.

“My friend and I were on the treadmills with one other person on the whole line. [The treadmills are] all facing the walls, for context, only one person could have even seen our chests.”

The dress code rules offered on the ARC’s page on the university’s website are, “Athletic shirts & shorts and proper non-marking shoes must be worn at all times, except in the pool area.  Shirts and tops must cover torso and belly.”

Mix said that she and her friend both complied with the policy and put their shirts back on, but she said that she felt like her workout was ruined as a result.

“By that time we were both at peak heart rate, so putting a hot sweaty shirt back on killed the mood,” she said. “Everything was covered and we were just trying to work out comfortably. I think the gym should be a place to appreciate and build our bodies, not hide them.”

Mix said that she thinks that the ARC’s policy is even more strange, considering the fact that because of the indoor aquatic activities, people are often walking around in swimsuits, which doesn’t seem to be a problem.

“It’s especially odd to me that this all happened in the ARC, where just a few steps away I could swim in a bikini and no one would say a thing. You don’t have to wear excess clothing while you swim because it’s uncomfortable. We’ve all agreed to that as a society, and people usually have the decency to give each other grace because most people are self-conscious. When it comes to working out, I think we should give each other the same freedom.”

Lindsay Hyden, associate director of Campus Recreation, defended the ARC dress code, saying that students are required to cover up to avoid the spread of diseases like staph infections.

“Everything always needs to be covered,” Hyden said. “We always want to make sure students have shirts and closed toed shoes on. No very thin shirts, no nipple line. We do this to avoid the spread of staph infection.”

Staph infections have become increasingly more common in public areas, according to Louanne Weber, Director of Student Health Services. She said that is definitely a legitimate risk for students working out at the ARC.

“We are seeing much more staph in the community,” she said. “Athletics is a prime source for that because of skin-to-skin contact.”

Weber said the machines at the arc should be cleaned between every use, but students can ensure this by wiping down equipment with disinfecting wipes, which are located throughout the gym.

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