Student Association senator seeks to reverse decision to cut gym hours

A student leader is pushing back against a new policy at the Lerner Health and Wellness Center that cuts late-night workout hours.

Complaints from students cropped up early this semester after the gym began kicking patrons out at 11:30 p.m., an hour and a half earlier than in past years.

While the gym’s official 11:30 closing time remains the same, the previously lax approach to clearing exercisers from the building has been replaced this semester with a firmer rule designed to make the center’s operations more efficient.

Now with a “hard-close” at 11:30 p.m., all those working out or staffing the gym will be required to leave.

Student Association Senator Josh Goldstein, U-CCAS, plans to meet with Associate Athletic Director Andre Julien next week to attempt to forge a compromise on the hours.

Goldstein said he hopes “to make a solution that works for everyone,” adding anecdotally that the 11 p.m. to midnight time frame was popular for many students. He decided to take on the issue after hearing about 10 complaints from students that the new hours restricted their ability to fit exercise into their school and work schedules.

But a spokesperson for the Athletics and Recreation Department said, after a review of the building’s operations last fall, staff learned that the gym was infrequently used after 11:30 p.m.

Brian Sereno, executive director for athletics communications, described the review as an “ongoing assessment of our efficiencies.”

“To ensure peak efficiency and staffing during the hours the center is used, we decided to close operations at 11:30 p.m.,” he said. “The expenditures to operate the facility as compared to the relatively low number of users after 11:30 p.m. does not justify staying open any later.”

Sereno declined to provide an estimate of how much money would be saved by stopping operations earlier in the evenings, but emphasized that the new policy was geared toward “efficiency of financial and human resources – not strictly about saving money.” 

Sophomore and Lerner Health and Wellness employee Nike John estimated about 15 or 20 students per night had utilized the facilities during the late-night hours. John, who sometimes works the closing shift at the gym, said she turned away upset students who didn’t know about the change.

The gym at West Hall will remain open 24 hours a day by the end of January, Mount Vernon Campus Life announced last week in its weekly newsletter. Students can access the facility by tapping a GWorld.

The gym – much smaller than its Foggy Bottom counterpart – opened last fall.

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