Glasgow Uni introduces Ask For Angela program in gym as 30% say they feel unsafe

Students can now call reception from gym emergency phones

The Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) has set up a safety program after 30% of students said they felt ‘uncomfortable or unsafe’ when exercising in the gymnasium the university.

The Ask for Angela program is widely used in nightclubs to help discreetly alert staff to people who feel unsafe, but it’s now being rolled out in the gym.

If at any time you are uncomfortable or feel unsafe, you can call reception from the emergency phones placed around the gym. You can also talk directly to nearby staff, walk to the Duty Manager’s office, scan QR barcodes seen in the gym, or fill out this online form.

GUSA wants to suppress hostile behavior in the gym. On his Instagram account yesterday he said this behavior ‘cannot be tolerated’.

“At University of Glasgow Sport, the safety and well-being of our users is our primary concern. Unfortunately, we are aware of incidents where members have felt uncomfortable and experienced unwanted attention in our facilities. This cannot and will not be tolerated.

“Our team is always there to help you. Any report of unwanted behavior will be seriously treated. To highlight this and chart a clear path for support, we are launching Ask For Angela.

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

One comment said: “They deliberately walk around the gym people watching, moving up and down between Pulse and Powerplay – never exercising.”

Third-year student Laura Baillie is the Health and Performance Manager at GUSA. Speaking on a personal note, she told The Glasgow Tab: “As a regular PowerPlay user, it really saddens me that incidents like this are happening in our gym.

“I’ve been aware of these types of incidents in the past, but I’ve never experienced them to this extent myself. I think there’s a general tendency to look around in the gym and see what other people are doing, but in my experience it’s a real curiosity and there hasn’t been a malicious intent behind it.

Laura continued, “I think the Ask for Angela program that’s in place in the Stevenson Building is definitely a step in the right direction in addressing and minimizing these types of incidents.

“I am aware that this experience in the gym is much more prevalent among women than men, which is why GUSA runs gym hours for women, non-binary and transgender. These hours are in place to provide anyone with who identifies as above a safe space to train with fear of being judged, watched, or feeling like she doesn’t belong.

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

PowerPlay runs one hour exclusively for people who identify as female, non-binary, or transgender every Wednesday between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

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