Dina Fanara

Assistant News Editor

An announcement was made to all users of McMaster’s Pulse fitness centre on Nov. 11 with regards to a new usage monitoring system. It will be implemented to regulate the number of users allowed to use the Pulse at any given time.

The new practice is called the “one-in, one-out” policy. The system was put into effect as a result of a greatly elevated attendance level in the facility, resulting in long wait times for equipment.

Students were told in the email that the busiest times for the facilities are between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and were advised to consider using their memberships outside of the peak hours.

According to Debbie Marinoff Shupe, the Manager of Recreation Services at McMaster’s Department of Athletics and Recreation, this year has seen a record number of Pulse memberships purchased, most of which were bought by McMaster students.

A recent ranking of Canadian universities in Maclean’s Magazine said that 79 per cent of McMaster students participate in athletics and recreation in some form, many by purchasing a Pulse membership. It’s a number that, according to Marinoff Shupe, is much higher than the average for Canadian universities.

A steady yearly increase in Pulse fitness facility usage has occurred since the opening of the new facility in 2006.

In the 2005-2006 academic year, close to 8,000 memberships were sold, with a steady increase until numbers reached more than 11,000 this year.

In addition to the increase in Pulse membership purchases, this year has also seen a steady increase in the average number of times per month that the fitness centre is being used.

Not only are more students purchasing memberships, they are also using the facilities more often.

As a result of this increase, the “one-in, one-out” policy has been implemented. This method was first used in January of 2011, as January is typically the busiest month for the Pulse, but this is the first year that the system has been used in the fall.

“Part of what we want to do is educate people on different options,” added Marinoff Shupe, including using the upstairs running track and changing personal exercise schedules.

Athletics and Recreation is currently looking into options for expansion. However, this also raises concern. For example, where would new equipment go?

There is little room left for more cardio machines on the second floor, and the first floor is already packed with weight machines and free weights.

While this issue is seen by Athletics and Recreation as a positive statement on student fitness, this is a serious problem for those who wish to use the facilities, and an issue that will take time and resources to resolve.

 

Farzeen Foda

Senior News Editor

 

“Sports are awesome,” said Andrew Pettit, sports camps and leagues coordinator of McMaster Athletics and Recreation.

Unfortunately, the nature of competitive sport is such that exclusionary comments and name-calling are commonplace.

Athletics and Recreation has taken an active stance against homophobia in the University’s athletic facilities through Positive Space Training, held at various times throughout the year in collaboration with QSCC (Queer Students Community Centre) and McMaster’s Human Rights and Equity Services.

Although exclusion of this sort is not common at McMaster, the importance of the issue has garnered substantial support. The initiative began two years ago, and has since seen consistently impressive turn out, noted Pettit.

The second Positive Space Training of the 2011/2012 academic term was held on Nov.15. Each session of training is led by members of the QSCC, and begins with an introduction to key terminology commonly used in a derogatory manner. The training outlines the “Name It, Claim It, Stop It” approach to homophobia

This approach encourages bystanders to identify the inappropriate comment, and be able to explain why it is wrong and take the necessary steps to prevent it from continuing.

Currently, Positive Space Training is not mandatory for any groups on campus.

“The hope is that people will want to take these kinds of steps against homophobia,” said Pettit, explaining that similar training is already required for certain groups.

However, considerations are underway for installing a mandate for Positive Space Training.

Inclusion in athletics extends beyond homophobia, noted Pettit.

“Sport is for everyone and no one should be excluded for being too skinny, or not pretty enough,” he said.

Among McMaster students, the gym can be a source of anxiety for some.

“I know that at Mac, I don’t have to worry about being judged, but I can’t help but feel a bit intimidated walking into the gym sometimes,” said Ankita Dubey, a fourth-year Psychology student.

“This is not simply about being gay or lesbian; it’s about supporting an end to discrimination,” said Amos Connolly, head coach of McMaster’s men’s basketball team.

“Collectively, we are able to make a strong endorsement towards acceptance rather than alienation, love rather than hate.”

To further express McMaster Athletics and Recreation’s support, the men’s basketball team joined the numerous other campus groups in participating the Pride Week Parade held throughout the McMaster Campus on Nov.16.

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