Posters for a campaign for women’s-only gym hours at Carleton have been torn down and vandalized, according to Sydney Schneider, the programming co-ordinator of the Womyn’s Centre.
Schneider said she received a message that someone had seen a poster being torn down and thrown in the garbage. She said she has also seen posters go missing from the billboards in the University Centre.
“Overall, the support for this campaign has been overwhelmingly positive, but obviously there are a few people who are against it,” Schneider said. “It’s sad that they’re not using proper language calling it segregation, saying it’s not equal for men when what it is, is not segregation . . . It’s offering more alternatives to let women be more comfortable in the gym.”
A petition has gone up on the website Change.org protesting the creation of the campaign, saying, “segregating men and women in any way is inherently sexist.”
As of publication, the petition has been signed by 121 supporters and has been commented on multiple times.
Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s athletic director, said in an email she has not been contacted by those petitioning for a women’s-only gym hour, and that she was unaware of the posters.
Brenning added she thinks there needs to be a discussion before a women’s-only gym hour could be implemented.
“It would be a good idea to have a discussion of the issues and potential solutions. Then we can determine what is feasible,” Brenning said.
Fahd Alhattab, Carleton University Studentes’ Association (CUSA) president, said he feels that campaigns on campus need dissent and that part of the difficulties faced are because students felt there wasn’t that room for dissent.
“I see the criticism when I say that, is that the campaign says that ‘where’s our women’s-only gym hour,’ it doesn’t really say ‘give us your feedback,’ it’s more already stating its position,” Alhattab said.
Alhattab said he is glad discussion is being had on the campaign, but said he wishes it were more constructive.
“This is a campaign to gauge interest and gain feedback, this isn’t a campaign about a proposal,” Alhattab said.
More than 550 people have responded to the campaign’s survey, and according to Schneider, the responses have been “overwhelmingly positive.”
According to Schneider, the plan is based off of Ryerson University’s women’s-only gym hours, which has allocated six hours over the period of a week.
Schneider said their plan for the women’s-only hours would look to get three to five hours across the week, but that currently, they are not sure of the specific hours. She added they are open to discussing the topic with Carleton Athletics.
“We just really want to make sure that people realize that it’s open to all women, both cis and trans women as well as non-binary folks so it’s not as exclusionary,” Schneider said.