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Controversial fitness centre incident sparks dress code review

By Fabian Mayer, April 12 2016 —

University of Calgary Active Living is updating its policies after two women were kicked out of the fitness centre for wearing sports bras. The February incident caused controversy when it came to light last month.

Bobola Olayinka and Gorana Jeftic were asked to leave the gym by fitness centre staff for wearing sports bras on two separate occasions. After a verbal altercation on Feb. 18, the pair was eventually escorted out by members of Campus Security. Olayinka was subsequently handed a two-week ban from the gym.

The university’s Active Living and Athletics Committee examined the dress code, which requires t-shirts be worn at the fitness centre, at their last meeting. Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance Sarah Pousette sits on the committee. She said the SU wants the policy to be inclusive.

“What we’re really looking for is a policy that is equal to all genders,” Pousette said. “That’s really important to us.”

Pousette believes any new policy should be easily enforceable and align with other Calgary gyms.

“Whatever students are comfortable in, they should be able to wear,” Pousette said. “Wearing some type of top — if it’s a sports bra, if it’s a tank top — that’s really reasonable.”

Fitness centre manager Chris Gordon declined to be interviewed but said in an e-mailed statement that discussions on the policy are going well.

According to Gordon, policy recommendations will be made when the committee meets again on April 19.

Olayinka is not involved in the discussions, but said she is satisfied with the process so far. She is waiting for the results of that meeting before commenting further.

Pousette wants Active Living to consult students when rewriting the policy.

“Anybody that wants to provide feedback should be able to,” Pousette said.

She hopes a new policy can be implemented this summer.

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