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Suit filed over Rec Center dress code

03/03/1999

Miami University has been sued in U.S. District Court because it will not allow "thong" bathing suits in its recreational sports center.

The center's dress code prohibits nudity or thong-type swimming attire.

G. Roger Davis, associate professor of music, is challenging the policy on the grounds that it infringes on his civil rights. Davis, referred to in the student newspaper as "Thong Man," first challenged the dress code in 1997, saying it was excessively vague.

In response, the recreation center advisory commitee clarified the definition of "appropriate attire" to prohibit explicitly the wearing of thongs.

After complying with the revised dress code for several months, Davis resumed wearing thong bathing suits. After several warnings, Davis's membership in the center was revoked for a 12 month period.

He subsequently brought suit against the university and university officials for violating his First Amendment right of free expression. He is being represented by Scott Greenwood of the Cincinnati chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The university disputes Davis' allegation that its "no thong" stance violates Davis's civil rights.

"I believe Miami has the right to adopt and enforce reasonable rules about the attire to be worn by rec center patrons," said Steven Cady, assistant vice president for recreational facilities.

Center membership includes faculty, staff, students, members of local communities and their families, according to Cady. Non-students must purchase memberships to use the facility, which includes two swimming pools, a diving well, fitness center, indoor climbing wall, four-lane jogging track and other exercise areas.

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