Harvard University’s Co-Ed Controversy: Women-only Workouts

by Alan Story
05/30/08


The biggest debate currently spreading through Harvard University as nothing to do with math, science, or politics. The burning issue that’s causing protests and angry letters from students and parents is co-ed gyms. Because of a recent request by female Muslim students, Harvard University decided to create women-only workout hours at one of their campus gyms. The Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center now has women-only hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays; the action has stirred much controversy.

Six female students looking for a place that could exercise comfortably at approached the Harvard College Women’s Center. The school thought the request was reasonable and enacted the new program. Robert Mitchell, the communications director of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, doesn’t understand what the controversy is. “It was done for religious purposes, but it's not closed to other women who may want to participate.”

Women-only health clubs is hardly just a religious matter. Fitness Centers such as Curves are exclusive to women. Curves feels that some women need a comfortable, supportive environment that regular co-ed health clubs may not be able to provide. It’s a move that’s steering health clubs away from the meat market atmosphere to a place where healthy lifestyles can really be established.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, stated, “If the women are dressed in a manner that makes it more comfortable to exercise, they may not feel it’s appropriate for them to be viewed by men in that particular attire.” This is not just a religious stance, but one felt by many women according to Curves.

Even with three other health club facilities on the Harvard’s Cambridge campus, many students are angered. Some students are upset that the hours are not enough, and that just on Tuesday and Thursdays does not make working out more convenient. Others feel that making such a change is an example of being “overly politically correct.” Still other students believe that this is an example of reverse sexism toward men.

Harvard has a long track record of religious tolerance and has made an effort to accommodate students’ wishes in the past. These include prayer areas for Hindu and Muslim students as well as rescheduling exams to accommodate religious holidays.

Mitchell is quick to sate that “this is just yet another of what we thought was a reasonable request for some special times because of religion, not because of gender.”

The women-only hours at this Harvard workout facility are currently on a trial basis and will be evaluated at the end of the semester. With all the heated debate the change has stirred this seemingly innocent workout program just mat not work out at all.

add to del.icio.us Share on Facebook
Want to share your thoughts?
Post your comment
Comments(0)

The SignatureForum Experience

  • Your concierge to life.
  • Lifestyle services including home improvement, cosmetic enhancements, health clubs and many more.
  • Research made simple.
  • Real consumer reviews, ratings and analysis.
  • Valuable promotions.
  • Experienced guest services liaisons ready to answer your questions and arrange your consultation.
  • Industry news and the latest trends.

Schedule a FREE Consultation!

866.363.6434
or Fill Out Our Online Form
 

Full Name Phone Number Zip Code Email Date of Birth :
Procedure

Schedule Your Consultation

Purchase Gift Certificates

Share the gift of superior service! The perfect gift for any occasion...stocking stuffers, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, and more.

Purchase a Gift Certificate!

Follow Us:        

Sign Up for our Newsletter

Whether it's interesting factoids, introductions to local providers, or the latest industry news—SignatureForum's newsletters are something to look forward to.

Click Here to Sign Up for the Newsletter

Exclusive Promotions

Enjoy exclusive promotions and savings worth up to hundreds of dollars with SignatureForum membership packages!

Click Here to Join SignatureForum

Become a Network Provider

Does your company provide superior service? Submit your application for becoming one of our elite network service providers.

Click Here to Inquire About our Network!