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UI Student Who Claimed She Was Turned Away from Dancing in Union Bar Due to Her Weight to Lead Protest

Jordan Ramos, a UI student who says she was turned away from dancing in a section of the Union Bar by bar staff due to her appearance, is spearheading a protest rally against the bar.


The in Iowa City has found itself with some unwanted attention this past weekend, and it doesn't look like it is going to end anytime soon.

Jordan Ramos, a University of Iowa student claims she was turned away from dancing on a platform in the Union Bar due to her weight, and that bouncers told her she was not pretty enough to dance there and "obviously pregnant." Now, Ramos is pushing for a public apology from the Union Bar and also more awareness surrounding weight issues by holding a protest outside the Union Bar from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. this Friday night.

The story has been receiving national attention since it was written about the in the Iowa City Press-Citizen over the weekend. In an e-mail to Iowa City Patch, Ramos said she was "shocked" by the attention this has gotten, but wanted to use the attention to shine a light on issues she cares about.

She wrote:

"I never expected this to get out of Iowa City and I was never looking to get national attention. Now that it has, I no longer am looking to get attention about me not being able to dance on the platform. I am looking to address the bigger meaning from this situation, which is discrimination and raise awareness that this happens everywhere and it should not happen. Also, now that is getting out in the public, I do not want people to think this is just as a size issue. People have been discriminated against based on their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc and I am looking to start talking about the power of advocacy and how we can use this messed up situation to address the bigger issue."

Here is some of the text from the Facebook page about the event Ramos started:

I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT I AM TARGETING UNION AS A WHOLE AND IT’S DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES. I recognize that all employees may not agree with these policies because on the first night I was discriminated against, a bartender shook hands with me and apologized to me for the behavior of the bouncers. My main goal is not to shut Union down, but to receive a public apology, a public admittance to the public of their discriminatory practices, and a written statement saying they will no longer discriminate.

On March 3rd, I was denied the right to go up on the platform inside the Union bar even though several other girls got to go up. The only dssdifference between me and the girls who were allowed up was the fact that I am a plus sized woman. The bouncer said to me “you will NEVER make it up this platform. Go back to the dance floor where you belong.” My friend tried to talk to the manager since he was there, but he just kicked her out, refusing to talk to her. My friends and I emailed the manager a month ago and he still has not responded.

On April 14th, my friends and I went back to see if this would happen again and this time the bouncers made it clear as to why they were not letting me up on the platform. I was not allowed to dance up on the platform inside the Union bar because 1. They told me I was not pretty enough and 2. They told me I was pregnant (fat), which I am definitely not pregnant. 

My friends who were allowed on the platform, said they were examined head to toe by the bouncers and then they nodded in approval as if they were saying “you made the cut. you are hot enough to be up on this platform."

This is not the first time in recent years a bar in Iowa City has come under fire for alleged discrimination. In 2007, Brother's Bar in Iowa City was criticized for having a dress code that discriminated against African Americans.

The bar has a dress code that prohibits attire often associated with African-American males, including loose jewelry, baggy pants, and sports jerseys (except on game days).

The difference is under current law, discriminating based on size or weight is not illegal in the state.

Maria Houser Conzemius May 01, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Jordan Ramos is pretty, not just attractive. I like your photo a lot better than the Iowa City Press-Citizen's. The Union bar management doing the head-to-toe once-over sounds offensively sexist. Do they treat guys that way too?
Stephen Schmidt May 01, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I can't take credit for the quality of the photo as she submitted it to me. I'm interested in the fact that the angry photos of her are the ones that have proliferated nationally, even to the point where they have stolen low resolution versions of the Press-Citizen's photo without giving proper credit. As for sexism, if the account of this former bouncer is correct (http://www.press-citizen.com/article/20120501/NEWS01/305010076/Bar-owner-wants-to-apologize?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage) men weren't allowed to dance on the platform either.
Stephen Schmidt May 03, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Post deleted. Please keep all comments civil and avoid personal attacks. That goes for everyone.

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