By Mitch Goulson
The Wilf Campus houses a beautiful pool, 25 meters in length, as well as a sauna and steam room. As it currently stands, women are not allowed to use these facilities, even though the Beren Campus has no pool of its own. For the women who want a healthy alternative to the standard weights and gym, few options are available through the university. Considering the easily resolvable state of the issue of tznius and the fact that the pool is unused for most of the day, the women should be granted some form of access to the pool.
On the Beren Campus, the women have access to a trainer, a handful of small workout facilities, and an auxiliary gym. Even the athletics teams have limited access to necessary facilities. The basketball and volleyball teams must travel ten blocks to Baruch College’s gym on the corner of 24th Street and Lexington Avenue, which the Athletic Department must reserve in advance for use of the basketball and volleyball courts.
Because Yeshiva University is a yeshiva as well as a university, it makes sense that the administration is exercising caution regarding the concept of women swimming. This is especially true when considering that the pool is located within the Rubin dormitory, a men’s dorm building.
However, the issues of tznius are not as applicable in this case as many would have you believe. The pool area is a state-of-the-art facility. With more than enough space between the pool and the Rubin dorms, the issue of tznius is easy to avoid. There are those who remain worried about women walking to and from the pool in inappropriate clothing, such as shorts or their swimsuits. But simply creating a rule that requires all to be fully clothed upon entering and leaving the pool is a more-than-viable solution. As is, the women of Yeshiva University have a dress code, and even those who do not keep to the skirts-only policy do not dress in a revealing way on campus.
That being said, mixed-gender swimming is a real issue of tznius and one that should be handled with the utmost respect and sensitivity. But a possible solution exists — granting women specific time slots during the week for pool use.
It would not be hard, nor exceedingly inconvenient, to find a time when women could have the opportunity to use the pool at the expense of the men. The pool, as is, is only open to the men from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. In other words, it is not in use for 20 hours, or 83% of each day. It would not be outlandish to suggest opening access to the pool for another length of time in the day for women’s use.
To say that women cannot use the pool even twice a week, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, for example, is unjust and unnecessary. With the facilities already afforded to those on the Wilf Campus, it is unreasonable to give this bonus to the men and not the women.