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Two women kicked out of fitness centre for wearing sports bras

By Emilie Medland-Marchen, March 15 2016 —

An incident at the University of Calgary fitness centre is raising questions about the gym’s dress code. Two women were escorted out of the fitness centre by Campus Security on Feb. 18 for wearing sports bras to their work out.

Bobola Olayinka and Gorana Jeftic were asked to leave the gym by staff on two separate occasions. The first incident took place on Feb. 16, when a staff member asked the women to leave for wearing sports bras, thereby violating the gym’s dress code.

The two women returned to the fitness centre on Feb. 18 wearing t-shirts, but later took them off to work out in sports bras. A verbal altercation ensued after they were asked to put their t-shirts back on, resulting in the pair being escorted out by campus security. Olayinka also had her fitness centre pass suspended for two weeks.

Olayinka and Jeftic said they returned to the gym the second time in order to protest what they claim is a “sexist and ridiculous” policy.

“They’re choosing who to enforce the policy on,” Olayinka said. “At the same time, in the larger scope, they’re specifically discriminating against women.”

The fitness centre’s dress code is displayed on a whiteboard at the gym’s entrance, as well as on their website. Active Living’s website states that “gym attire is required (runners, t-shirt, shorts/track pants, no sandals please).” Both Olayinka and Jeftic raised concerns about the policy being evenly enforced.

“I’ve seen girls wear sports bras. It’s not common, but definitely,” Olayinka said. “We also brought up the issue of guys wearing lifting tank tops, and they told us to just put on a hoodie or something.”

Following the altercation, the staff member contacted Campus Security to help remove Olayinka and Jeftic from the gym.

“We were just sitting on the mats, working on our abs, and all of a sudden there are security guards above us,” Jeftic said.

The two women argued with the staff member and the security guards about the policy before being escorted out of the gym. Campus Security confirmed that they responded to the incident, but would not go into any details.

Olayinka was contacted by fitness centre manager Chris Gordon the next day to discuss the two incidents and review the dress code. Olayinka and Jeftic met with Gordon on Feb. 23.

“He asked us to explain what happened from our perspective, and we thought he would really hear us out,” Jeftic said. “But he really just called us in to dismiss everything we had to say.”

After the meeting, Oyalinka was notified by Gordon in an e-mail that her gym membership had been suspended two weeks for choosing to “openly defy a fitness centre policy you were given several chances to correct” and “verbally attack[ing] a fitness centre staff member.”

Chris Gordon was contacted for an interview but declined to comment beyond a prepared statement.

Active Living’s statement said that “our intention is to ensure our policies are fair and promote a safe and respectful environment that can be enjoyed by all those who attend the fitness centre.”

According to Active Living, they are in the process of “reviewing and clarifying” their dress policies.

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