OTTAWA, Canada – A Canadian university removed scales from the campus fitness center “in keeping with current fitness and social trends” aimed at people with a special sensitivity to learning their weight.
“Scales are very triggering,” Carleton University freshman Samar El Faki posted to Facebook in support of the decision. “I think people are being insensitive because they simply don’t understand. They think eating disorders are a choice when they are actually a serious illness.”
The college’s athletics manager, Bruce Marshall, told The Charlatan student news site officials decided to remove the scale about two weeks ago because they believe only bad things come from monitoring weight.
“We don’t believe being fixated on weight has any positive affect on your health and well-being,” he said in an email. “The body is an amazing machine and even when we are dieting and training it will often find a homeostasis at a certain weight.”
“It takes weeks, even months to make a permanent change in your weight. So why obsess about it?” Marshall wrote. “Why not look at other indicators?”
Marshall suggested students bust out a tape measure and take numerous measurements of their “girth” instead of simply reading the scale. He contends students can learn more about their bodies by comparing the circumference of their torso, legs, and arms over time.
“Although it can be used as a tool to help measure certain aspects of fitness it does not provide a good overall indication of health and here at athletics we have chosen to move away from focusing solely on bodyweight,” he told CBC.
“If you need a number to focus on in regard to reaching certain fitness goals we suggest using girth measurements. You can start by recording measurements in multiple areas, for example your torso, hips, chest, legs and arms. You would then revisit these measurements after a few weeks to keep tabs on your progress.”
The vast majority of students railed against the decision online seem to think it’s simply the latest example of the liberal politically correct culture infecting college campuses.
“Next it will be the mirrors. #bringbackthescale,” one student wrote, according to CBC.
“Are you for real, Carleton?” another questioned. “What a sick joke.”
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” Eduardo Platas posted to Facebook with a link to The Charlatan story. “Why is society becoming stupidly sensitive?”
So #Carleton gym removed the scale so that people won't be offended by the measurement it provides. Novel concept, don't step on the scale.
— Aaron Bens (@TacticsAdvanced) March 10, 2017
Aaron Bens, a communications student at Carleton, wrote that he’s also “frustrated” by the “next escalation of trigger culture” and offered a common sense solution.
“We stand up for free speech and defend the books that offend certain people because of their merits. They can simply choose not to read them,” he wrote. “This is the same thing. Those who are offended by the scale can simply choose not to use the scale.”
“Certain athletes like boxers and rowers rely on those measurements, for them (the scale) is vital,” he wrote.
Other comments were even more brutal.
“Great policy,” Reddit user BernieLeadon wrote, according to CTVnews. “Next up, ban calculators because I’m flunking calculus and seeing them triggers me.”
“This idiocy is incredible,” user kewlbeanz83 posted to Reddit. “I use the scale all the time to track progress. So because people have no coping mechanisms the rest of us have to go without?”
Heard about @Carleton_U removing the scale from the gym. Embarassing as an alumni. Smarten up. Everyone there is an adult. Act like it.
— Luke Côté (@lilyliveredlib) March 12, 2017
“Heard about @Carleton_U removing the scale from the gym,” Luke Cote posted to Twitter. “Embarrassing as an alumni. Smarten up. Everyone there is an adult. Act like it.”
Marshall told CBC the decision was not based on complaints, and officials did not consult students before removing the scale.
The fierce backlash is now forcing them to re-think the move.
“We will weigh the pros and cons and may reconsider our decision,” Marshall said.