Students petition Rec Center dress code

By Austin Miller

Members of the SIU community are taking note from The Beastie Boys who sang, “You gotta fight for your right.” Instead of rebelling against parents, though, they are fighting for the right to wear what they want.

A petition has been started to revert the Recreation Center’s new dress code, gaining 430 signatures on Change.org as of Monday.

Tommy Kent, an SIU alumnus, said he did not know about the shirt policy before seeing the Daily Egyptian story about it on Nov. 18. He created the petition later that day.

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The rule, starting next January, prohibits sleeveless shirts from the upper track, personal fitness and wellness studio and the east and west weight rooms.

Troy Vaughn, director of the Recreation Center, said cleanliness is the root of the change, with reduced intimidation being a bonus.

Kent, who was an intern at the Recreation Center in 2008, said he thinks perceived intimidation is the main motivation for officials.

Kent said he did not start lifting weights until he got out of high school. He said he never felt intimidated because if he worked hard, he could look like those muscled men did. He goes to the Recreation Center five to six times a week.

“I strived to be like those guys that are bigger than me,” Kent said. “Those people work their tails off to eat right, to lift every single day and use the supplementation that is necessary to get those sort of physiques.”

Students pay thousands of dollars to attend the university, as well as the mandatory fee to use the Recreation Center. He said those payments should grant members some rights, particularly to wear whatever they want.

He said the staff should focus on keeping the place clean, instead of policing shirts.

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Daniel Lustman, a junior from Carbondale studying aviation, said he would be in favor of signing the petition.

He said he began lifting weights when he played football in high school. He has not felt intimidated, he said, because his body would change if he kept coming back to the weight room.

Jaciar Windfield, a freshman from Crete studying aviation, said he feels intimidated frequently even though he is in great shape.

“I see guys that are in better shape or that are bigger, then it makes me feel like I’m slacking,” Windfield said.

Mike Green, a sophomore from Carbondale studying nursing, said he agrees with the policy but has never felt intimidated. He said everyone he has talked with in the weight rooms has been helpful, rather than frightening.

“When I’m working out and someone is next to me going even harder than me, it motivates me to work harder,” Green said. “Don’t worry about everyone else. They didn’t come in here and start lifting massive plates. They have been doing it most of their adult life.”

When asked if he would abide by the policy, Kent said absolutely not.

“If I have to switch gyms, that’s a thought in my head,” he said. “I don’t want to. I love the rec center.”

Vaughn said he is grateful that these students have found a way to express their feelings. He said he hopes students don’t flee because they are paying the fee only specific areas are affected.

“There can’t be no dress policy,” he said. “There has to be some kind of policy. We have always had one. Now we’re going to enforce it.”

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