Stanford University hosts women’s-only training hours intended to bolster the school’s “inclusivity,” according to a Tuesday report.
The Ivy League institution’s outdoor education and recreation center will host women-only training hours from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, according to the American Enterprise Institute. Stanford Recreation and Wellness’ inclusivity committee spawned the initiative.
“[It’s a] safe space to make [women] feel more comfortable, so that there’s no guys ‘macho-ing’ around,” said Irina Vitman, a personal trainer at the center, to The Stanford Daily. “It’s a little less intimidating to use the free weights.”
Stanford began the initiative after hearing from Stanford women who complained about discomfort in large gym environments. The center’s windows will have blackout shades and its glass doors will have barriers ensuring privacy.
“Everything was being used and all the testosterone in the air was super suffocating — the kind of culture you find in the gym, it feels very aggressive and not very welcoming,” said Camille Townshend, a Stanford student, when describing her first experience lifting weights (outside the women-only hours).
Townshend described the new initiative as a “very welcoming way to start lifting” and has participated in it for three weeks.
Mark Perry, an AEI scholar and University of Michigan-Flint professor, said the initiative seems to violate Stanford’s nondiscrimination policy, which “prohibits unlawful discrimination … on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in the administration of the University’s programs and activities.”
Perry extrapolated the potential violation to the national level, comparing Stanford’s program to Title IX.
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” reads the federal policy.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Stanford for comment, but received none in time for press.
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