Ill-fitted gym attendees asked to butt out

New CARSA dress code sparks blowback at University of Victoria

  • Aug. 14, 2017 1:30 p.m.

This photo shows the outfit Luiza says she was wearing when she was asked to change clothes at CARSA. The revised dress code has been criticized by some as being unfair and unnecessary. Photo provided by the Martlet

Myles Sauer

For the Saanich News

Working out can be an unpleasant experience at the best of times. So it makes sense that many opt to wear clothes that make them feel comfortable, even if that means showing a little bit of skin, while hitting the gym.

Show too much, though, and you might have an issue. That’s what some members have learned following the release of a new dress code policy at the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) at the University of Victoria, and it has gym-goers crying foul.

The backlash was first reported in the Martlet, UVic’s student newspaper, in a story published Aug. 4. In the article, a woman referred to only as Luiza recounts her experience of been told by CARSA staff that her shorts violated the gym’s dress code for being, well, too short.

“It’s not fair,” Luiza told the Martlet. “I just believe the dress code is unfair, and unnecessary, and backwards.”

Following the incident, Luiza took to Instagram to express her frustration, and received an outpouring of support in response. Many people shared similar experiences with being told their attire did not meet CARSA’s standards.

The revised policy states that all patrons must wear clothes that cover their entire abdomen, chest, and “gluteal fold”—their butt, in other words. The policy also prohibits mesh or see-through clothing, but it’s the issue of shorts that chafe some folks in particular.

Clint Hamilton, UVic director of Athletics and Recreation, told the Martlet that “our goal is to create kind of a welcoming, safe environment, and part of that welcoming is that people feel comfortable in that facility.

“Some people are very uncomfortable when they see people wearing inappropriate clothing — [like] shorts that are hiked too far up,” he said. “So [in] part of responding to that, we’ve recognized an area where we felt we weren’t particularly clear, and we’ve added that element to the policy.”

Michelle Peterson, UVic associate director of Athletics and Recreation, told Saanich News that the dress code is “always a work in progress,” but that the feedback to the new revisions so far has been “quite positive.”

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A revised dress code at the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) at the University of Victoria has been criticized by some members as being unfair and unnecessary. Photo by Myles Sauer/News Staff

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