UNCW Rec Center website
Editor’s Note: Veronica Wernicke is a sophomore at UNCW majoring in Communication Studies and is the Opinion Editor for The Seahawk. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Veronica Wernicke may be found on Twitter @itsveronica98. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to [email protected]
Starting this fall semester, the UNC Wilmington Recreation Center is implementing a new dress code. The new dress code doesn’t allow gym goers to wear sports bras, muscle tank tops, cut off t-shirts or crop tops, or as they so eloquently put it “shirts that are manufactured or altered to expose the abdominal area or ribcage. Shirts should cover your chest, back, and torso (includes midriff and sides).”
Had I not been taking my required PED course this semester I would not have been aware of this new rule.
Despite the well-intentioned sign in front of the check-in area — which let’s be honest, not many people pay attention to — and the tiny click note on the rec center’s website there wasn’t really any significant notification of this update to students. Again, if there was, it did not grab my attention and probably ended up in my email’s trash bin. Their website mentions these new rules will be advertised through a “marketing and education campaign” — whatever that means.
Why this new rule is being implemented so suddenly is not quite clear. According to the recreation center’s website, it’s to create a more comfortable environment for gym users.
“In an effort to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all patrons, as well as reduce the risk of bacterial disease transmission, further mitigate risk, and prolong the life of exercise equipment, UNCW Campus Recreation has made updates to the current dress code policy,” the website said.
I guess they don’t want sweat to get all over the equipment and it’s believed that not allowing you to work out in a sports bra or crop top is going to solve that. How much do they believe people are sweating?
So, what happens if you don’t follow this new dress code? Again, according to the recreation center’s website, gym users can either change, check out a Campus Recreation shirt, or you will not be permitted to enter and asked to leave.
I don’t even use the Rec. Center aside from my PED course and this new dress code has me rolling my eyes and scratching my head. This isn’t high school and we shouldn’t have a dress code.
Now, if you go and look at UNCW’s sister university rec. centers, a different — and more reasonable — picture is painted when it comes to dress policies. For instance, according to their website, the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) dress code consists of wearing athletic clothing.
“Closed-toe, closed-heel, non-marking athletic shoes, shorts, T-shirts. Attire choices such as jeans, medical scrubs, sandals, bare feet, or socks-only may be prohibited, depending on the facility or program,” the website says.
Notice how general they are — you also won’t find a nitpicky illustration that gets into specifics.
North Carolina State has a mix between UNCW and UNC’s dress code. Their general policy states clothing must be appropriate for each activity area.
“Participants must wear shirts that cover the entire chest, back, and top of shoulders at all times.”
This rule is quite similar to UNCW’s but does not give a nitpicky illustration. N.C. State understands that we are adults and don’t and shouldn’t be told what to wear.
If someone in my classes can come to class in just leggings and a sports bra — which I have seen — then they should be able to work out at our recreation center.
While this new rule won’t affect me long term since I don’t use the Rec. Center outside of my PED course, it is still annoying and will affect many other UNCW gym users. What do you think of these new guidelines and will they affect if you choose to use the rec center or not?