Unnaturally warm winter temperatures sent many CMS students running to grab their swimsuits upon arriving back in Claremont for spring semester, but access to the Scripps pool might have just gotten trickier.
The resort-like pool facility available to Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, and Scripps students at the Sallie Tiernan Field House at Scripps is now open at new hours. After months of planning, Scripps Associated Students (SAS) and the Sallie Tiernan Field House adjusted the Friday-Sunday hours to admit only Scripps students from 12-2pm, CMS women and female guests from 2-3pm, and CMS women, men, and guests from 3-5pm. These changes mark shorter hours available to men than the previous schedule.
“Some Scripps students simply feel more comfortable with the women only and Scripps only hours. It provides a comfortable and relaxed environment that continues the ongoing message of embracing every body,” said Field House employee Olivia Wilson SC ’16.
SAS Student Activities Chair Meredith Kertzman ’13 and President Emily Jovais SC ’13 wrote an article in February 2013 for the Scripps Voice informing the student body of SAS’s motivations to work for changes.
“Last semester, SAS and the Field House staff received numerous complaints about the lack of space and feelings of general discomfort at the pool attributed to the growing number of students from the other colleges,” said Kertzman and Jovais in their article. “Frequently, Scripps students were turned away due to overcapacity and some reported feeling alienated and uncomfortable with conversations and the overall culture of the pool area.”
SAS met with the Field House, and put out a survey to Scripps students to understand their motivations (or lack thereof) for using the pool facility to better accommodate the greatest number of students possible.
SAS responded by changing the hours, but is that the only way to ensure all students will feel comfortable in the shared space?
Concern about body image (48%), lack of lounge chaises/chairs (43%), and inconvenient pool hours (32%) were cited as the top reasons students did not go to the pool according to Kertzman and Jovais. Additionally, an email that Field House director Tamsen Burke sent to the Scripps community stated that 87% of Scripps students responded that they preferred implementing women-only hours and 73% said they preferred implementing Scripps-only hours. After discussing with SAS, the Field House met with CMC and Harvey Mudd to determine the new hours for CMS students.
SAS committed to the arduous process of changing hours with the hope that the changes made would clear the “general feelings of discomfort” felt by students. Significantly, this involved incorporating Scripps-only hours and shortening hours available to men.
“SAS is happy with the result and confident that these changes address the principal concerns raised by students,” said Kertzman and Jovais, stating that the new hours are “a direct reflection of student feedback.”
“Even though [the pool] has become somewhat more exclusive, the limited hours have provided the Scripps community with another comfortable environment that is stress-free. I am not sure that the all-student hours were stressful or how they were so much different, but it seems to be working out for the Scripps students,” said Wilson about the response she has noticed since the change in hours.
The widely accepted norm for the pool atmosphere calls for minimal clothing and a social ambiance, and students responded to the survey that they enjoy the space for relaxation. Though not stated directly, undertones in Kertzman’s and Jovais’ article reflect that the presence of men made a relaxing atmosphere impossible for some Scripps students. SAS responded by changing the hours, but is that the only way to ensure all students will feel comfortable in the shared space?