Beginning in early January, those who occupy certain sections of Southern Illinois University's recreation center will be forced to wear sleeves.
This policy isn't an effort to combat the the bitter midwestern winter, however, but to combat the spread of MRSA.
The rec center's director, Troy Vaughn, says there hasn't been a case of the highly contagious infection tied to the center, and the new dress code is part of an effort to keep it that way.
“The more contact that people’s skin comes to the equipment, there’s more of a chance for infection,” Vaughn told the school's student-run newspaper. “It’s imperative, on our end, that we do the very best that we can to protect our users.”
Only those who use the center's fitness studios, upper track and two weight rooms will be required to wear shirts with sleeves, as these are the areas where a member's skin is most likely to come into contact with equipment.
“We have to clean a lot more vigorously in there than anywhere else, just because of those conditions,” said Vaughn, adding, “We’re not asking for much. All I’m asking for is that we just get a tee shirt on. It’s just a tee shirt, plain and simple."
Yet some students, such as senior Terilyn Mahome, see the new code as an annoyance.
“I’ve been coming here for two years and now I have to go out and buy new clothes,” he said.
In order to prepare for those who arrive sleeveless to the facility when the policy begins, Vaughn has ordered 400 shirts that he'll be giving out on a first-come, first-served basis.
When those shirts run out, those in inappropriate attire will be either asked to change or to leave.