By: Tony Davis
UPEI’s Athletics and Recreation department came under criticism this week when an AVC student, Kylee Graham, posted a photo to Facebook detailing her negative experience with the clothing guidelines at the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre.
Chris Huggan, director of UPEI Athletics and Recreation for nearly four years said guidelines for gym clothing came into effect in February with the consutlation of students, staff and community members. Before then there were no guidelines.
The athletics department looked at what other universities and Canadian gyms were doing and decided to implement it at UPEI.
“We decided it was worth our while to explore putting in guidelines for safety and hygiene for many reasons,” Huggan said.
“The main purpose is so everyone can feel comfortable, safe, inclusive and ultimately they have a positive experience in our fitness centre.”
Huggan wasn’t there to see what was and wasn’t worn by Graham at the gym but based on what he saw on her post what she was wearing was acceptable, he said.
“It’s challenging sometimes. We have a lot of confidence in our student staff and try to train them. I want to re-emphasise these are guidelines, and in this situation she (the staff) wasn’t sure if what the girl was wearing was in the guidelines. After giving it more thought, she said, ‘it’s fine’ and actually apologized to the girl that day.”
This is the first time the issue has been brought to Huggan’s attention. There might have been people who disagreed with the guidelines but never reached out, Huggan said.
“We reached out to her (Graham) and worked on process for our staff in case there is an example of an incident where they feel they need to intervene they can come and find department staff who can find the appropriate time to have a conversation.”
The gym understands people want to be comfortable working out and is sensitive to what people want to wear, Huggan said.
As for the dress code guidelines, the department is open to changes and is working to improve communication between student and faculty staff.
Photo by: UPEI Gallery