Fitness fee in place due to Title IX requirements

Students work out at Campus Recreation Center East, more commonly known as CRCE, on April 20, 2007.

Students work out at Campus Recreation Center East, more commonly known as CRCE, on April 20, 2007.

By Lauren Scafidi, Staff Writer

The Activities and Recreation Center, ARC, and the Campus Recreation Center East, CRCE, combined have had 51,000 unique card swipes since January of 2016.

This number translates to 96 percent of Illinois students using Campus Recreation Facilities or programs on an annual basis.

Because of the high attendance rate, the ARC and CRCE offer a variety of amenities, such as fully equipped weight rooms, cardio machines, running tracks, a climbing wall, an aquatic center, basketball courts, volleyball courts, badminton courts and more.

While the use of these amenities is included in tuition, group fitness classes are not.

“We need contribution in order to sustain a high-level program such as group fitness,” said Kia Williams, assistant director of fitness programs, in an email.

The pass to attend these group fitness classes an unlimited number of times costs $90 per year or $50 per semester.

Group fitness options are offered throughout the week and consist of classes with a focus on cardio, rhythmic/dance, high intensity, mat-based, strength options and water. More specifically, the 60 different classes include but are not limited to yoga, cycle, Zumba, BODYPUMP, TRX and Deep Water Exercise.

Both the quality of the amenities and variety of group fitness classes are why Jeff Ito, sophomore in Engineering, supports a campus recreation fee.

“There should be a fee somewhere because obviously, it takes money to maintain the facilities so if you just make everything free then there’s nothing we can do to help improve the ARC or get better equipment,” Ito said.

However, Ito feels conflicted about a fee specifically devoted to group fitness class.

“I am just not sure if that fee should be included in extra classes or something like tuition.”

On the other hand, Dani Schur, freshman in AHS, does not support the fee.

“The classes they offer are awesome, but it kind of sucks you have to pay for it extra on top of all the tuition,” Schur said.

Williams describes a number of reasons for the additional group fitness fee. Industry standards require all instructors hold current and reputable certifications. To compensate for the certifications costs, Campus Recreation Facilities wants to be able to pay instructors leading the classes.

Additionally, instructors must also respond to potential emergencies while leading a safe and effective class.

“Safety is very important when providing a fitness experience to people of all different fitness backgrounds and levels,” Williams said.

Fees for music licensing and equipment purchasing, maintenance and replacement also exist, so the charge for the group fitness pass helps cover those fees.

Because not all students have an interest in the group fitness classes, only those participating pay for the privilege.

Having all willing students pay for the group fitness fee eliminates a potential legal concern as the majority of group fitness participants are female, Williams said.

“This presents a Title IX issue with regards to the equality piece of that legislation as we are offering a service that primarily only females have interest,” Williams said. “Institutions have also seen similar issues with regards to offering intramurals free of charge as participation is largely male-identified.”

[email protected]