A college in Clarmont, California banned men from its gym last Friday afternoon to give women and “non binary people” a safe space, Claremont Independent reported.
Pitzer College Residence Life and the the Gold Student Center gym announced the man-free event on Facebook.
“Come join your favorite Pitzer RAs for an event designed to support the heath of women and non binary people!” the post read. “This event is a three-hour block where the gym @ Pitzer will be closed off to men so that people of other genders feel safe to explore the gym, learn about the equipment, or just workout in a man-free space.”
As noted by the Claremont Independent, the event was held between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m., which are typically high volume gym hours.
One student spoke to the Independent on the condition of anonymity.
“In my own experiences, I don’t feel that the gym is so male-dominated, both in actions and presence, that women and nonbinary people are excluded from participating in daily workouts,” he said.
“While there are times that there are mostly men in the gym, I feel that there are times, though less of them, when there are many or most(ly) women present as well.”
“All this being said, I am not a woman and as such can’t as easily identify with the feeling of being excluded or turned off from a gym mostly filled with men. Furthermore, I do understand the idea of giving a day to allow other identities to learn how to workout in the gym given that it is mostly men generally and it allows underrepresented groups to take the first step in joining the community that is the gym,” he added.
This event at Pitzer College followed moves by Canadian universities such as the the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba to hold special hours at their school’s gym for “women and non-binary users.”
“The motive behind the initiative was that there are people of minority groups and people that are needing equality,” said Aly Raposo, women’s representative for the Arts Student Body Council and founder of the Women’s and Gender Studies Student Association at Manitoba.
“So we wanted to give them that equity that they needed.”
As noted by the Independent, Pitzer College appears to be in violation of its own non-discrimination policy “protecting students from discrimination against sex, and a host of state and federal civil rights legislature, including Title IX.”
During the gym’s closure, men on campus did have the option of going to the college’s other gym, which is a 20 minute walk from the Gold Student Center.
It’s unclear whether this was a one time event for Pitzer, of if RAs at the college will continue allotting gym hours for women and self-described gender non-binary peoples.
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