Photo by Ella Orchard-Blowen

Women’s Power Hour receives record-breaking attendance amidst controversy

Katherine Rosa


A&E Editor


Last Tuesday, Women’s Power Hour in the HUB’s gymnasium was bustling with an unprecedented turnout rate. Following statements made last week by off-campus representative Will Hicking, students flocked to the gym to show their support of the program. According to Campus Recreation, over 120 girls checked in that night, while others stopped by to sign physical copies of the petition, totaling roughly 480 signatures. Signs lined the walls, protesting the potential shutdown reading, “Women and queer folks deserve a safe place to exercise”.

Bri Hannigan, one of the program leaders for WPH, gave some insight on the matter. She said, “…I’m a competitive powerlifter, and all of my powerlifting career I’ve kinda had to work through male-dominated gyms and I know how that experience feels and I know what it would’ve felt like if I didn’t have to experience that. So that’s why Women’s Power Hour is so important to me.” Julia Soucy, a fellow WPH program leader, added, “It’s been really incredible seeing the growth of a lot of girls of the past year, or even just the past semester or the past few weeks. There’s been so many girls that you can visibly tell they’re getting more confident, and that’s amazing and what we look for in something that’s been predominantly male-dominated.”

Brea Holtet of Girls Not Acting Right commented “Considering how male-dominated this gym is, I think it’s really important to have a specific time set in place where folks can come down here and feel comfortable.”​​ This is a sentiment echoed by many of the girls present and a factor of priority for why WPH must remain established. 

That same day, the Student Government’s 2026 cabinet released a statement on their Instagram, addressing the matter: “The SGA class of 2026 supports all who attend Women’s Power Hour.” Other student organizations joined in on releasing a statement, with Campus Democrats saying, “Not only will ensuring the permanency of Women’s Power Hour enforce everything Plymouth stands for as a university, but it will serve as an important fixture on why these safe spaces work. The women of PSU are not going away anytime soon, and it is our job to ensure this progress towards equity and equality sticks around for a long time.” GNAR also took to their Instagram, simply announcing that “GNAR stands in solidarity with folks who utilize Women’s Power Hour.” 

According to a YikYak user poll from Wednesday, students voted 183-25 in favor of WPH. This makes for an 88% approval rate for the roughly 200 students who partook in the vote. Many students took the opportunity to use this platform to divulge their opinions on the matter. One post, which received 128 upvotes, stated, “As a man, Women’s Power Hour has never really bothered me. I go [to the gym] daily and just schedule my hours around Women’s Power Hour or go after. Most of my guy friends who go have never complained about it either. The minority who fr complain are weak soyboys.” 

Many women on campus expressed that WPH is an opportunity to feel safe in the gym, something we so rarely get daily. It is an unfortunate fact that many women do not – and will not anytime soon – feel comfortable or protected in the vulnerable environment of the predominantly male gym. Harassment is too prominent of a problem in these establishments, so it’s of great importance that we foster these environments. There’s no merit in starting a senseless debate on the alleged discrimination of these spaces when they are founded on the sole purpose of counteracting discrimination. Allowing women a slightly more level playing field is not making things unfair, it is allowing what is already fundamentally unfair to become slightly less, and that should not be objected to.