A student claims she was told to leave her university gym by staff who said her outfit was inappropriate.
Sarah Villafañ says she was at College of Charleston gym in South Carolina when staff told her to change her top or leave.
The student posted a status about the incident on Facebook along with a photo of the outfit she was wearing to the gym.
In it, she can be seen wearing leggings and a crop top, with a small area of stomach showing.
On Facebook, Villafañ wrote: “I just got kicked out of the College of Charleston student gym for wearing this outfit. Like not allowed to work out. Not allowed to because of this outfit that I bought specifically to work out in.”
The student went on to say she’d been wearing the outfit the entire day before heading to the gym, including at three of her classes, and none of her lecturers seemed to have a problem with it.
But when she was in the corner of the gym completing an ab workout on the floor, a member of staff approached her and told her to “put [her] shirt back on”.
“I said ‘I have a shirt on’. They said ‘no that’s not a shirt. You have to wear a whole shirt’. I said ‘how is this not a shirt?’ and she said ‘you need full coverage. If you have a problem, we always have our boss here’.”
Villafañ said the boss then approached her and said: “I need you to put on a shirt or I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.”
Eventually she gave up arguing with the staff members and left the gym.
“I bought this outfit to work out in because it’s comfortable. What is the issue?” she ended her post.
“Why can’t I work out in this outfit? Is my belly button distracting to the general 85% male demographic that your gym serves? I’m forced to leave, why?
“Honestly I’m so floored that I just got kicked out for this. Do better College of Charleston.”
More than 1.4 thousand people have reacted to the post, with many suggesting the gym has a “sexist” clothing policy.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, Mike Robertson, senior director of media relations at College of Charleston, said: “The rules and dress code have been posted right beside the front door since the facility opened in 2015.”
Robertson also sent us a link to a study by the National Athletic Trainers Association on skin diseases.
“It warns of the dangers of skin diseases that can be contracted in gyms,” he said.
“Because of this possibility, the College of Charleston and many other colleges and universities follow best practices that require people in the gym to wear a full shirt while working out in order to minimise skin exposure to possible infectious agents.”
In an update on her post, Villafañ said the gym staff “never made those sanitary concerns clear when they asked [her] to change”.
“They told me I need ‘more coverage; and nothing more,” she added.
“The dress code at the front of the gym simply says: ‘Athletic wear must be worn.’ I would say that what I’m wearing (whether you believe it’s a sports bra or a crop top) is completely normal and considered athletic wear.”