Glasgow University cracking down on gym creeps with new safety scheme

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Glasgow University is cracking down on predatory behaviour in the gym by asking students to report creeps who stare or flirt during workouts.

The ‘Ask for Angela’ safety scheme has been used in pubs and clubs across the UK for years, to help women get the attention of staff if they feel uncomfortable.

Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) has implemented a safety scheme after 30 per cent of students said they felt “uncomfortable or unsafe” while exercising in the university gym.

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A crack-down on behaviour including commenting on a gym user’s looks or clothing, unwanted flirting or sexual advances, excessively staring at someone including via mirrors, and taking unsolicited pictures.

The University of Glasgow.The University of Glasgow.
The University of Glasgow.

Offering uninvited help or advice, following someone around the gym, or sharing ‘unwelcome personal images’ are all barred.

Emergency phones have been placed in the gym so users can call the front desk if they feel uncomfortable.

They can also speak directly to nearby staff, go to the duty manager’s office, scan QR barcodes seen within the gym or fill out this online form.

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Glasgow University Sports Association said such behaviour ‘cannot and will not be tolerated’, student publication the Tab reported.

The gym operates an hour exclusively for people identifying as female, non-binary or transgender every Wednesday between 1:30-2:30pm.

A spokesman for GUSA said: “At University of Glasgow Sport the safety and welfare of our users is our primary concern.

“Sadly, we are aware of incidents where members have been uncomfortable and felt unwanted attention in our facilities. This cannot and will not be tolerated.

“Our team are always here to help you.

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“Any reports of unwelcome behaviour will be seriously dealt with.

“To highlight this and outline a clear pathway for support we are launching Ask For Angela.”

In its post announcing the initiative on social media, GUSA included anonymous complaints it has received from students.

One comment said: “They deliberately walk around the gym to stare at people, moving up and down between Pulse and Powerplay – without ever actually doing any exercise.”

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Third year student Laura Baillie is the GUSA health and performance convenor.

Laura said: “As a regular user of PowerPlay it really does sadden me that incidents like this are occurring in our gym.

“I’ve been aware of these types of incidents happening in the past but have never actually experienced it to this extent myself.

“I think there is a general tendency to look around in the gym and see what others are up to, but from my experience it’s genuine curiosity and there has been no malicious intent behind it.

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“I think the Ask for Angela scheme that is in place in the Stevenson Building is definitely a step in the right direction in order to tackle and minimise these types of incidents.

“I am aware that having this experience in the gym is much more prevalent in females than males which is why GUSA are running female, non-binary, and transgender gym hours.

“These hours are in place to provide anyone who self identifies as the above with a safe space to workout with fear of judgement, being watch or feeling like they don’t belong.

“Additionally, I have spoken with staff from UofG Sport regarding students’ comfort in PowerPlay and there have been discussions regarding the number of staff members in the area, ensuring that students are aware of the emergency phone that is next to the water fountains etc.”

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