Students at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley have mixed reactions to the university’s dress code enforcement at the recreation center.

UTRGV Recreation Center director Kimberly Rottet says the university already had a dress code in place at the recreation center, but recently began to enforce it with the use of a new pictorial education system.

“We recognize it might potentially be a sensitive situation,” Rottet said. “We don’t want that, so we are doing our due diligence and we really want to make sure that the students are here and they are protected and safe while they are here. We are hoping that a lot of them will understand meet us half way on that.”

Rec center officials began enforcing the dress code policy to reduce the risk of bacterial disease transmission, further mitigate risk and prolong the life of exercise equipment.

“Because it’s a gym and we all know that gyms tend to be breeding grounds for bacterial types of things,” said Rottet. “We have to think about it from a coverage perspective in that aspect, too.”

Rottet says, currently, there is no present health concern, but they want to take a proactive step to avoid any health concerns from happening.

The heavier enforcement is causing mixed emotions among UTRGV students.

“When you do your weights or sit down on the bench–when you have clothes on, you don’t really like stain the seat of sweat or anything,” said UTRGV student Andres Garcia. “So, I think it’s a good thing they are doing that.”

“I wasn’t aware of the dress code and I was wearing long leggings and a sports bra that nearly reached my leggings, so I didn’t think there was anything inappropriate,” said UTRGV student Ali Corbitt. “But I was running, and they chased me down and they said, ‘Ok you need to put on a shirt,’ and I was confused.”

The center is allowing a one-month grace period for students to become acquainted with the policy, and ask that all students wipe down their equipment after each use to reduce the risk of bacterial disease transmission.

“We also tried to be very concerned with the gender language and have equal representation for the number of female situations, as well as males, and try to provide some clarifications,” said Rottet.

For the university’s full dress code policy, visit utrgv.edu