Dress code draws crit­i­cism

UPEI Ath­let­ics and Re­cre­ation apol­o­giz­ing af­ter stu­dent’s work­out wardrobe put un­der the mi­cro­scope

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY TONY DAVIS Tony Davis is a re­porter for both The Guardian and The Cadre. This story ap­pears in both pub­li­ca­tions.

Kylee Gra­ham’s re­cent visit to UPEI’s Chi-Wan Young Sports Cen­tre left her reel­ing.

The 22-year-old UPEI stu­dent wore a cropped work­out shirt to the gym just like she usu­ally does.

“It’s more com­fort­able for me than wear­ing two lay­ers or loose, long clothes that can move around and get in the way when work­ing out,” said Gra­ham, who is study­ing her first year at the At­lantic Veterinary Col­lege.

As Gra­ham walked into the gym re­cently she was stopped by an em­ployee who told her that her out­fit vi­o­lated their dress code. Gra­ham was pre­sented with a binder show­ing her women were not al­lowed to wear sports bras alone, open back shirts or low-cut shirts with a sports bra un­der­neath. In a PDF de­scrib­ing the footwear and cloth­ing guide­lines for the gym it says cloth­ing must cover the rib cage, but the graphic de­pict­ing guide­lines makes no men­tion of sports bras.

“I told her this isn’t a sports bra as you couldn’t even see my belly but­ton,” Gra­ham said in a Face­book post.

The staff then told her it was fine for to­day but added: “If a man came in here and was wear­ing a shirt cut so low on the sides you could see his nip­ples, I would tell him the same thing.”

Gra­ham worked out, but as she was leav­ing, the em­ployee ap­proached her. Gra­ham said the worker said she de­cided with her co-work­ers the out­fit was OK.

In her Face­book post, Gra­ham writes the staff then told her “… we are try­ing to find a happy medium where girls can still work­out with men.”

Gra­ham be­lieves UPEI Ath­let­ics and Re­cre­ation staff are wor­ried women could be dis­tract­ing to men. “I am so an­gry that this is some­thing that was im­ple­mented just over a year ago. UPEI Ath­let­ics & Re­cre­ation should be ashamed how they are try­ing to con­trol and are sex­u­al­iz­ing fe­male bodies in such a di­rect way, how they are mak­ing it harder for women to live an ac­tive life­style and the clear dou­ble stan­dards set for women. This is not okay,” Gra­ham con­cludes her post.

UPEI Ath­let­ics and Re­cre­ation be­came aware of the Face­book post early Wed­nes­day. Di­rec­tor Chris Hug­gan said the stu­dent staff mem­ber apol­o­gized the day of the in­ci­dent and he has reached out to Gra­ham.

Gym cloth­ing guide­lines came into ef­fect in Fe­bru­ary with the con­sul­ta­tion of stu­dents, staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers. There were no guide­lines prior to Fe­bru­ary.

“The main pur­pose is so ev­ery­one can feel com­fort­able, safe, in­clu­sive and ul­ti­mately they have a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence in our fit­ness cen­tre,” Hug­gan said.

He wasn’t there to see what was worn by Gra­ham at the gym but based on what he saw on her Face­book post said what she was wear­ing was ac­cept­able.

“It’s chal­leng­ing some­times. We have a lot of con­fi­dence in our stu­dent staff and try to train them. These are guide­lines and in this sit­u­a­tion she (the staff) wasn’t sure if what the girl was wear­ing was in the guide­lines.”

This is the first time the is­sue has been brought to his at­ten­tion.

The gym un­der­stands peo­ple want to be com­fort­able work­ing out and is sen­si­tive to what peo­ple want to wear, Hug­gan said.


Kylee Gra­ham says in a Face­book post she wore this to the UPEI gym the day she was crit­i­cized.

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