UCCS Rec Center reviews dress code

Tom Baker 

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      The UCCS Rec Center is reviewing its dress code amid complaints from students about restrictive policies. 

      Marcus Graves, the facility operations manager, said the review would address the subjective problems with the current dress code while prioritizing the safety of students. 

     “[What] we’re focused on is health, wellness and safety aspect of communicable disease and skin contact, and how can we adjust so that we can stay within that realm but allow for new fitness trends and styles,” Graves said. 

     “We’re trying to adapt to [trends], but we don’t want to be so reactive that we’re doing this every year. We want to create continuity because fitness styles are going to change, year in and year out.” 

     The current dress code limits clothing to non-overly revealing athletic wear that covers the chest, back, midriff and underarms in all areas of the center except the pool, locker room and Alpine Field. The reasoning is to limit exposure areas where skin-skin contractable bacteria can develop. 

     Graves said that they are not reviewing the footwear dress code. Currently, students must wear closed-toe and closed-heel athletic shoes in the facility, except for the Aquatics Center.   

     Some students have voiced complaints about the subjective nature of the dress code.  

     According to the recreation center website, the appropriateness of clothing is at the discretion of the UCCS Campus Recreation staff. This discretion has caused some contention among students, who feel the dress code unfairly discriminates against female students.  

     Graves addressed this issue and expressed that the new dress code would be as objective and unbiased as possible.  

      “Even on our end, the vagueness of it can be tricky. So that’s what we’re trying to eliminate. Our goal is to clean that up,” he said. 

     TJ Peck is the coordinator of facilities at the center, and he began the dress code review in March 2021. He hopes that an education campaign can help students understand why specific dress codes are in place and why they cannot change certain restrictions. 

     “Unless they have either been in the athletic world for a very long time, or in a world in which there’s a lot of shared spaces or shared equipment [students] are really unaware of the threat that MRSA, ringworm, staphylococcus and things like that can cause,” Peck said. 

     “Something that we’re working on, once we’re able to get the dress code through, is an education process and making sure that we are as crystal clear and objective as possible.” 

     The UCCS dress code is similar to those at other universities in Colorado, where dress codes focus on minimizing the chance of contracting skin-to-skin bacteria. 

     According to Graves, CU Denver requires that clothing meet public decency standards with the mandate that students must wear shorts and pants for all activities. Colorado College also requires that attire covers the lower or mid-back, abdominal area, ribcage and buttocks. 

     The process to review the dress code is lengthy and includes reviews from partnering organizations at UCCS such as MOSAIC and the Office of Institutional Equity. 

     The Rec Center has not given any estimate for when it will implement the new dress code. 

Upstairs workout area of the rec center. Photo by Megan Moen.