Nearly 300 members of the Queens College community have signed a petition against the school’s decision to cut morning weekday gym hours starting Dec. 20 to Jan. 27.
Generally, QC fitness hours are 6:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Starting Tuesday, Dec. 20, the gym will be accessible to users from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays. Members were notified of the shortened hours by a sign on the door of the fitness center’s entrance and a calendar is posted on the QC athletics website. Members pay $300 per year or $180 for six months, not including additional fees for classes which range from $5 – $10.
According to the athletics website, the department of athletics and recreation has the discretion to adjust the Maurice Fitzgerald Gym’s fitness and aquatics center hours in accordance to holiday, school closings and/or community needs. Full or partial refunds will not be granted based upon the adjustments, the department says.
Members have petitioned to undo this change because they say that they pay membership on the assumption that the fitness center’s regular hours will be that way for the duration of the membership period, with the exception of holiday and power failures. Thus, members expect a refund or some sort of credit for the winter session’s inconveniently short hours. So far, 270 people have signed the petition, which was addressed to QC President James Muyskens and QC Vice President Sue Henderson.
“What the hell? Why would they do that? I just started working out again so that would totally throw me off. I don’t think that is fair to us,” said Ivan Hoffman, a senior, who has used the gym for four years. “I would want to come before 2 p.m. It would affect my schedule.”
“I think if I had to use the gym earlier it would be a concern of mine, but as long as I use the gym as I normally do then no,” said Daniel Verdejo, a community gym member for seven years who signed the petition. “If it did though, I’d be upset and question why am I paying the same amount.”
QC is open for the winter session, and according to the winter session program office, there are approximately 2,000 students enrolled for classes. Both fitness center staffers and users have speculated that the hours were cut to save money, however, the athletics department did not respond to a request for confirmation.
“I think it’s just budget cuts. The weekdays, afternoon and night is probably the busiest,” said Dan McDougall, a junior who has worked at the fitness center for four years and will be working during the winter. “That’s probably why they kept the night time hours because that’s when it’s the busiest even though over the winter its not as busy as it is over the semester.”
One community member said that after speaking with Athletics Director China Jude and Assistant Athletics Director Rob Twible, his membership was extended, since he was a paying community member. However, they did not promise to do that for students and staff, according to the community member.
Many classes – including, but not limited to, zumba, Pilates and lunch time toning – are located in the fitness center on weekdays before 2 p.m. Presumably all these classes will have to be cancelled if the fitness center is closed at the time at which the class should run, much to the resentment of many. Some members also said that working out at night can be counterproductive.
“I don’t think it is a good idea, because at the end you’re just taking away jobs and trying to salvage money by keeping it open half a day instead of a full day,” said senior Joe Manfre. “If you work out at night you are actually speeding up your heart rate so you are keeping yourself up later on at night. I just feel the whole idea behind it isn’t that great.”