Loyola’s Halas Recreation Center changed its dress code policy last month to allow students to wear a larger variety of clothes, officials said.
The policy previously required students to wear a full shirt, but as of Aug. 27, it allows students to wear crop tops and backless shirts that cover the majority of the midriff and back, according to Megan Morris, the program director of Loyola Campus Recreation.
Halas’ website also specifies that jeans and denim aren’t allowed and athletic, closed-toed shoes are to be worn at all times. This portion of the policy isn’t new.
Morris said the dress code policy is in place for sanitary reasons because students often use the machines without cleaning them afterwards. When skin and sweat come into contact with the equipment, it allows for the transmission of germs and bacteria, and a shirt acts as a barrier to those sanitary risks, she said.
Morris said the change in policy was in part a result of several inquiries from students about Halas’ dress code. She also said the policy isn’t based on a student’s appearance.
“Our policy has always been in place for [sanitary reasons] and never for appearance,” said Morris. “That’s usually a common misconception.”
Carlee Dulfer, a 20-year-old junior who’s studying criminal justice, said she was asked to tuck in her backless tank top at Halas last year. She said she left feeling frustrated and confused as to why the policy existed.
“I have never run into a problem in the past or in any other gym I’ve attended,” she said.
In cases where students can’t adjust their clothing or change into something else, Halas provides “dress-code shirts” in order to avoid turning people away. Morris said the change in policy caused Halas to give out less dress-code shirts.
Mary Polupan, a first-year studying political science, said she was asked to wear something over her sports bra Aug. 25 at Halas. Similar to Dulfer, Polupan said she was confused by the regulation and unaware of the reasoning behind the policy.
“It would’ve definitely been less aggravating if I had known about [the dress code],” the 18-year-old said.
Morris said informing students about the policy is often difficult for Halas. Not all of the students who are eligible to use the facilities at Halas do so, making it difficult to reach the students who need the information. The dress code policy is available on the Halas website and is posted throughout the gym.
“We don’t want a policy to ever be a barrier to students using the facility,” Morris said.