Recreation Services prioritizes inclusive services


Chris Jorgensen/Iowa State Daily

The community was invited to participate in a free event to celebrate the International Day of Yoga in State Gym on Thursday June 21, 2018. Several different instructors guided about 30 participants through a yoga session lasting over an hour.

Logan Metzger

Athletics have historically been binary within the realm of players and participants, but Recreation Services at Iowa State is aiming to make its activities more inclusive.

On the Recreation Services website is a page labeled “Inclusive Rec,” which lists all their inclusion policies and other information pertaining to diversity and inclusion at Iowa State’s recreational areas. This webpage is new as of a couple of years ago, but the policies have been around for as long as Michael Giles Jr., director of Recreation Services, can remember.

“These policies are important so that we are ensuring and reaching out to everyone in the Iowa State community, especially our students, to say that everyone is welcome and should be welcome and should be able to participate and use Recreation Services in the manner that they want to recreate,” Giles said.

Within the policy section, Recreation Services states that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability or status as a U.S. Veteran like most other Iowa State facilities.

“Recreation Services is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion,” according to the Recreation Services website. “By creating an inclusive environment and providing programs that support our diverse perspectives, we preserve the spirit of community.”

They also include a bullet point stating that patrons may participate in programs and utilize facilities in a manner consistent with their gender identity. This helps to include everyone, including transgender students who may be left out in such a historically binary place.

Under the locker room and restroom section of “Inclusive Rec” is a statement that students may use whatever facility they feel most comfortable with.

There are gender inclusive restrooms located in State Gym next to the Administrative Offices and in Beyer Hall, on the lower level between the locker room entrances leading into the pool. Individual locking, changing/showering rooms are located in State Gym in the hallway south of the pool right before entering the locker rooms.

There is also a map of other gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus on the webpage.

Wrapping up the “Inclusive Rec” webpage is the Transgender Policy for Eligibility & Participation in Intramural Sports Activities and Sport Clubs, which states that all individuals shall be permitted to participate in programs in a manner consistent with their gender identity.

“While sport programs are typically offered in gender-based divisions, ISU Recreation Services seeks to provide opportunities for all students to participate in its programs inclusive of gender identity,” according to the Recreation Services website.

Brad Freihoefer, director of the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success, said these policies show that thought has been put into what inclusion really looks like.

“It is important for our transgender and non-binary students and employees to see policies that reflect them so they know that as a system they are being thought of, that they are not just an exception to a rule,” said nicci port, project director and LGBTQ+ initiatives for the office of Diversity and Inclusion.