In the USD Wellness Center, multiple posters list the facility’s dress code regulations. Despite the signs, some students are still unaware of the dress code.
The posters claim that everyone—male and female—at the wellness center must be wearing a shirt at all times. A recent addition to the dress code was the restriction of males wearing cut-off muscle shirts.
Wynette Heeren, a group fitness instructor for the USD Wellness Center, said a problem with the dress code is deciding what is passable and what is unacceptable.
“It’s just a big gray area. It’s one of those things where you start talking about length and cuts, and there are so many variations,” Heeren said. “It is really hard and I guess it’s up to the discretion of the wellness center. If they feel like it’s inappropriate then it probably is.”
The dress code, Heeren said, is intended to keep people safe and comfortable while working out.
“It’s one of those things where they are just trying to protect people and stop inappropriate behavior from happening,” she said. “I think it’s all in the best interest of the members and the students. Whether you get frustrated or not, it is for everyone’s best interest.”
Kiah Schumacher, a senior nursing major, said she wasn’t even aware there was a dress code for the wellness center and said that could be because it is hard for the wellness center staff to monitor what everyone is wearing.
“I feel like with girls it’s pretty easy if they have a shirt on and it covers enough, with boys the cutoffs could be hard to monitor. It would be hard to determine what is too much,” Schumacher said. “Some cutoffs probably start off fine but then as they wear it more it could be stretched out and then not fine. I don’t know what you would say to them when it was allowed and now it’s not.”
Although Schumacher said she feels cutoffs would be the hardest to monitor, Hannah Welbig, a senior speech language pathology major, said she worries about monitoring crop tops.
“There are a lot of girls that wear crop tops. I don’t think it is really a problem as long as it covers enough,” Welbig said. “I don’t know how they determine what covers enough though, it’s a bit unclear.”
Heeren said she thinks the dress code at the wellness center is fair and generally the same at other gym locations.
“(The Wellness Center staff members) are trying to make the best decision for everybody and it is hard to be fair to everybody, it’s impossible,” Heeren said. “It’s hard to know where you draw the line, and it’s a tough topic. I think they do the best they can, and they probably take the examples from other places. I’m sure they did some research on what the industry is doing and what other universities are doing.”
As an instructor, Heeren said she generally doesn’t talk to members about their outfits that may violate dress code policies because of the large discretion rate.
She said she would rather focus on the workout itself than telling people what they can and can’t wear.
“We are all here to workout anyway. I can workout in shirt and shorts just as good as I can in a tank top and tights. That should be the focus, the health and wellness and the focus of the exercise, not the fashion,” Heeran said.