New HRC guidelines in place starting Feb. 1

In addition to new rules, the HRC’s existing policies are now being enforced more strictly. Photo by Peter Larson

MEGHAN STRATTON | STAFF REPORTER | mstratton@butler.edu

No cutoffs. No crop tops. No exposed torsos. No sports bras.

These four requirements are just a few of the newly implemented recreation policies at Butler’s Health and Recreation Complex.

Students and members of the Butler community are now required to cover their abdomens, torsos and lower backs in order to exercise at the HRC. The HRC staff began enforcing the new regulations Feb. 1.

According to a post in the Butler Connection, these changes were made in order to prevent contagious skin diseases. The prohibition of bare torsos is one main feature of the new rules. This is because many skin diseases such as hives and acne are commonly found on these areas of the body.

Beth Lohman, assistant director of recreation for fitness, oversees all of the recreational fitness and official wellness services.

“With this update we added a few new policies, but a lot of the policies we’re trying to bring awareness to are actually ones we’ve had for a while that weren’t being enforced regularly,” Lohman said.

These old policies include no halter tops and or bare feet.

Most of the new policies concern user hygiene and safety.

“Our goal isn’t to be policy monitors,” Lohman said. “We would rather help people enjoy their workout and keep the equipment clean for patrons. Also, our goal is to be more consistent with our staff enforcing all policies.”

The new policies are also part of an initiative to make the HRC more inclusive and welcoming to all persons. The wording of “no exposed torsos” is a way to ensure everyone is incorporated and accounted for.

Loman initiated a marketing campaign to inform members of the new policies, because she did not want to have to turn people away because of their attire. The marketing campaign started on Jan 16., the first day of classes for second semester.

The advertising strategy included putting up new policy signs around the HRC, posts on the HRC social media accounts and two advertisements in the Butler Connection.

Jeremy Cleary, a first-year economics major, found out about the new regulations by word of mouth while working out at the HRC.

“I definitely understand the importance of stopping the spread of skin diseases, because I have seen and heard of multiple skin diseases popping up around campus last semester,” Cleary said. “I hope the new rule does not have a negative impact on anyone’s daily routine and that the transition goes smoothly for everyone.”

The Kennel, also known as the Dawg Den, got it’s own set of rules this school year. Located on the ground floor of the HRC, the Kennel includes all of the heavy weights and plated machinery.

Each of the HRC’s seperate areas  — including the Kennel, the main gym, the track and the pool — has its own posted rules and regulations. In addition, there are general HRC policies that are posted in the lobby.

“I’m curious on how well this rule will be enforced because I feel that a significant amount of guys wear cutoffs to the gym and girls wear all sorts of tops that they feel comfortable in,” Cleary said. “I find it hard to imagine HRC employees constantly sending away members as soon as the rule is enacted.”

The new rules will be enforced by the HRC professional staff and student staff.

“There are a lot of cute new clothing out there with the open backs and criss-crosses and from a visual perspective I think it’s great,” Lohman said. “But from a standard perspective, we don’t want to get into the habit of saying your shirt is OK but yours is not OK.”

The new policies also prohibit open-toe shoes, exercising without shoes on, powdered chalk, dropping weights or dumbbells, and throwing medicine balls against walls unless on the Zone Dynamax wall.

“Sometimes students will want to lift weights barefoot,” Lohman said. “When you think about the hygiene of the foot, if everyone walked around without shoes on and they’re stinky and sweaty, we’re going to be spreading all kinds of diseases.”

Olivia Schwan, a junior marketing and Spanish major, found out about the new rules when she was lifting and saw the signs taped to the mirror.

“I know a lot of girls have the shirts with cutouts and open backs so that’ll definitely be an adjustment,” Schwan said. “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, I think the policies are good.”

Racquel Wilson, a sophomore criminology and psychology major, spoke out about a different new rule and its gender implications.

“One thing I don’t really like is that we are no longer allowed to bring certain weights into the Zone room,” said Wilson. “I feel that men really dominate the lower part of the gym and as for a girl who focuses mainly on lifting, it’s hard to be down there and even find space to use weights. I feel like the guys really take their time using the equipment.”

Several of the new rules concern the Olympic lifting platforms. These two platforms have been up since January 2017, and require their own set of regulations for the safety of lifters.

Now, Olympic lifts must be performed in the platform area that has rubber bumper plates, and members are prohibited from using metal plates on the Olympic lifting platforms.

This updating of policies is the first of the academic year, and the fourth update for the physical signs since the HRC’s opening in 2006.  

You can follow Meghan on Twitter @meghan_stratton

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