By Sam Arseneau
One UPEI student is sharing her experience after a frustrating encounter at the UPEI Fitness Centre on Sept. 3.
That day Ray Noftall said a staff member of the fitness centre came up to her during her workout to ask if she could “put a shirt on.” She was told that the top she was wearing violated the dress code.
She described her outfit as a pair of leggings and sports bra, which she says she has worn to different gyms before.
This was not the first time a student was treated in this manner at the gym.
A similar event happened last year when student Kylee Graham says she was asked to cover up while working out at the fitness centre. Ray reached out to Kylee, who then reached out to UPEI faculty/staff and The Cadre.
In an email, Graham expressed her concern that the issue was not being prioritized.
Graham says she met with the athletic director, Chris Huggins, manager Stephanie Knickle, and two other students on October 14th, 2018. There she learned that the ‘dress code’ was implemented a year prior and was based on policies from other schools. She was also told that it was put into place after members of the community had complained about what clothing was being worn in the gym.
Graham is disheartened that this situation had occurred to another student after her ordeal last year.
“I felt misled about the changes that were implied that never happened, frustrated that I was in this situation again and that the UPEI fitness centre didn’t prioritize or see the importance of the issue I brought forward before, and sad that someone else went through this,” she said.
An email with details of this event was sent out to many different faculty and staff of UPEI by Kylee. Some staff members who received the email responded, including Huggins who tried to resolve the situation.
According to Huggins in an email to Graham, this is the first reported incident since their meeting last year. He states they have taken steps to train staff and ensure changes are made. He makes clear he wants the Sports Centre to be a safe space free from judgement for all.
In a statement to The Cadre, UPEI expressed its regrets that this situation occurred to another student, but feels confident that the issue is being resolved.
“This was a regrettable incident with a positive outcome. In consultation with the students involved, and other concerned parties, UPEI has removed the clothing guidelines for the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre,” they said.
As of now all existing “clothing guidelines” have been removed from the sports centre, signs have been taken down and digital ones are being worked on.