Rec Center crop top ban leads to student frustration

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Students are not pleased with the ban of crop tops at the new recreation center. Staff are asking students to leave if seen wearing revealing clothing.  Photo by Nicole Jain / The Daily Campus

Students are not pleased with the ban of crop tops at the new recreation center. Staff are asking students to leave if seen wearing revealing clothing. Photo by Nicole Jain / The Daily Campus

Some University of Connecticut students are not pleased with the ban of crop tops at the recreation center.   

According to the recreation center website, the dress code explicitly states that upper body clothing needs to fully cover the back, shoulders and torso. Cropped t-shirts and tank tops in particular are not permitted.  

Kaitlin Amara, a seventh-semester animal science major, said she was almost denied access to the recreation center last week after driving 15 minutes to campus because she was wearing a cut Patriots shirt. She said she pulled her shirt to reach the top of her leggings and was allowed to enter.  

“I wore crop tops every day to the old gym,” Amara said.  “We are in college. They cannot tell me what I can and cannot wear to the gym. If I feel comfortable wearing a crop top in my own body, I will wear a crop top. They are taking away my freedom of expression and not making me feel confident in myself.”  

The dress code, including the prohibition of crop tops, was made for safety and personal hygiene reasons, said university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. If someone is not wearing appropriate clothing, they will be told to adjust as needed or be told to leave. The code explicitly uses the phrase “crop tops” to avoid confusion.  

“UConn Recreation established the policy as one of many policies to maintain the highest standards for the safety and well-being of all of our participants,” Reitz said. “The policies stated on the UConn Recreation website outline the expectations for adherence to all policies, as well as outcomes for lack of compliance … The purpose for all policies is to ensure a safe environment for all participants.”  

The policies have not changed from the previous recreation center, Reitz said. The rest of the dress code states that athletic apparel is required, including athletic shoes, and that jeans, khakis and pants with metal zippers are not allowed. 

“UConn Recreation understands that each year, as we welcome new students, faculty and staff to our community, our new members and participants might need to be educated of our policies,” Reitz said. “Typically, when the policies are explained, our members and participants understand the rationale. Given the exceptional culture that has been created at UConn Recreation, members and participants tend to embrace and follow the policies without any concerns.”  

Rachel Porter, a seventh-semester mathematics major, said she was wearing a long-sleeve crop top and high-waisted leggings last Thursday. Although her shirt went past the top of the leggings, she said she was asked by a gym employee to either change or put on a sweatshirt because there was “still a chance that while you’re working out it could move and rise up and your stomach could show.”   

Porter said she put on her fleece-lined sweatshirt but ended up taking it off because she was overheating, after which no one said anything to her.  

“The thing that made me most mad is how it was because if I moved there was the potential for someone to see my stomach,” Porter said. “By that logic, everyone would need to work out in a onesie. If I were wearing a full length t-shirt and non-high-waisted leggings the exact same thing can happen.”  

UConn recreation center policies are based on the industry standard used in many facilities nationwide, Reitz said. Like other gyms, their rules apply to everyone.  

“The policy applies to all participants,” Reitz said.  “To be clear, UConn Recreation maintains no policy that specifically applies to a single gender.”  

According to the Planet Fitness website, they do not allow clothes that “may be perceived as intimidating, revealing or offensive.” They also prohibit clothing items that be hazardous, like muddy shoes.

The Edge Fitness Center states on their website that management has the right to refuse people who are wearing inappropriate clothing into the gym. The Edge’s dress code requires members to wear absorbent shirts and rubber-soled shoes. In addition to Planet Fitness, they also ban jeans, work boots and open-toed shoes.  

Taylor Nute, fifth-semester pathobiology and animal science double major, said she walked into the gym wearing a white scrimmage vest that ended right at her belly button. She said she was allowed to work out wearing the shirt and was told upon leaving that she couldn’t wear the shirt again.  

“I personally do not care what people wear,” Nute said. “If guys wanna wear those shirts so they can see and make sure they are targeting the right muscle, I think they should. If girls want to wear shorts and a crop top or just a sports bra, they should be able to also. If that makes you feel good then I don’t see why not.”  

Nute said she thinks the dress code has gone too far.  

“Everyone is there for similar purposes of working out,” Nute said. “I don’t think there’s a need for such a strict dress code when everyone knows to wipe down their machines or equipment after each use.”  

Porter said she did not mind that the gym had rules; however, she wished there was more consistency with protocol. She said she had worn shorter shirts in the past and does not understand why this one shirt got her in trouble.  

“They made me put my sweatshirt on, but I took it off soon after and no one else said anything,” Porter said. “They aren’t even consistent with the rules so how do you expect people to follow them?”  


Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rachel.philipson@uconn.edu.

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