By Mohammad Basit Khan
This October, many female students dropped out of Zumba classes, taking place in MainHall, Sports Complex, due to the discomfort felt with its open venue. Zumba, conventionally, is practiced in closed, private settings.
Notably, other unenrolled students are allowed access to the Main Hall and partake in their individual activities, during campus class hours. “It was majorly uncomfortable because there were too many people in the sports complex – mostly boys playing basketball or some randomly standing watching,” Huda Ahsan Khan ‘23 said.
Saman Khan ‘22 was a regular at the Zumba sessions held in LUMS last year, yet this year she hasn’t returned after attending the first few sessions. “We used to be just nine to ten girls. It was a very relaxed environment last year,” she said. “I just felt very uncomfortable this time around.”
LUMS Shredded took notice of the concerns as they were raised. Azka Pervez ‘20, Vice President of LUMS Shredded, said that complaints received and acknowledged by the society have also brought the issue onto the administration’s radar.
“The Campus Climate Manager, (Ms.) Hiba Zakai, truly understands the issue. She comes to the classes regularly,” Pervez said in a written statement to The Post. “We’re working with her to find a permanent solution. Ms. Hiba Zakai says that everything will be worked out before the next semester starts.”
“We want to prioritize the comfort of everyone who comes and regret that the current facilities at LUMS didn’t give us an option to do justice to that. We’re hoping to make it better with time!” she said. “This is only the first time we’ve done an all-girls aerobics class at a large scale. It’s a learning process.”
When asked about the managing team’s efforts in addressing existing concerns for the current semester, she said, “We weren’t/aren’t allowed to empty the main hall (so far) but we arrive 15 minutes before and make sure the only people in the hall are those playing badminton in the two remaining badminton courts (while one court is occupied for the class).”
Another immediate solution employed by the society to ensure prevention of video recordings and uninvited audiences in spirit of combating harassment concerns is the appointment of society members patrolling the hallways.
“We also station a few members from our team inside and outside the hall to keep a lookout for any unwarranted stares or anyone staring idly or directing their phones in our direction,” Pervez added. “If we do catch people idly staring, we make it a point to go up to them and tell them to leave.”
With the current semester close to an end, LUMS Shredded plans to address the student body’s concerns through a comprehensive solution with the relaunch of the Fitness Aerobics program in Spring 2020.