Patrons’ right from bare arms

We should keep community needs in mind while considering the URW dress code.

A majority of rec center users surveyed in a Minnesota Student Association poll said they support changing the University Recreation and Wellness Center dress code to allow sleeveless shirts. While a student in a Nov. 18 Minnesota Daily article, “Students want right to bare arms at rec,” said the rec center’s T-shirt requirement is unnecessary, a balanced dress code is important for safe and appropriate exercise areas.

The T-shirt requirement serves the needs of the University of Minnesota community. If gym patrons could wear sleeveless shirts or other revealing clothing, some people may find the gym less open to all body types. Though this intimidation pervades society, the gym can be a particularly judgmental or even competitive space.

Though private gyms may allow sleeveless shirts, tank tops and other more revealing clothing, these clubs are voluntary. Rec center exercise spaces are open to all those paying the student services fee, in addition to staff, faculty and other University community members. This naturally attracts a diverse group of people. Rather than make rec center spaces more like private clubs, students must realize the center’s diverse patronage is something to be proud of.

The T-shirt requirement is not a burden on anyone. If the MSA and other students are serious about changing the URW dress code, then it should change similarly to Purdue University’s policy. Purdue’s gym patrons can wear sleeveless shirts or tank tops that expose arms but cover the torso. Howard Taylor, director of Purdue University’s Division of Recreational Sports, told the Daily some believe this policy is too restrictive. However, Purdue’s policy strikes an appropriate balance.

If MSA passes a statement supporting a policy change at its Dec. 3 forum, it will present the policy change to the URW Advisory Board. We hope MSA and the URW Advisory Board remember our community’s needs while making their decisions.