Univeristy Dress Policy

Over the last few years more and more Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have implemented a dress code policy of some kind with Morehouse College (ATL) being the latest. View the CNN clip.

Granted a dress code policy is fairly easy to implement at a private university, but what about those of us who work for public universities?
I clearly remember asking my department chair during my first week on the job if I could implement a dress policy in my classroom. Of course the answer was no, but the point was how do I get students to understand that neither I nor their classmates wish to see their pajamas, do-rags, unmentionables, or anything else that should stay in the privacy of their home.

Photo credit:Mike Benedetti

Photo credit:Mike Benedetti

I’m sure your thinking, “Well your working, you should be dressed everyday.” True, but you can be appropriately dressed in a pair of blue  jeans, and that’s my point.  Regardless of whether your university is public or private, at minimum have respect for your family. Really, do you think your parents, grandparents, or whomever else you respect would approve of you wearing pajamas to class (or Wal-Mart) after they’ve spent money on your education? Uh…..NO. Besides, your professor is NOT the only one working in the classrooms. As a student you are working as well, for recommendation letters,  as representatives of a campus organization, to increase your GPA for potential job employment, etc.

So next time  you see someone or you consider walking around in pajama pants and what have you, ask yourself “Did I just pass a future employer, misrepresent my organization, misrepresent myself, etc?”

These are just my thoughts, but I’d like to hear your comments. What are your dress expectations when you walk onto a college campus?

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5 Comments

Filed under classes, personal thoughts

5 responses to “Univeristy Dress Policy

  1. I agree with you on the fact that everyone (students especially) should respect themselves enough to take a little extra time to ensure their appearance accurately portrays that. A first impression is decided in 7-10 seconds, and what exactly is that based on? As shallow as it is, it is based entirely on your physical appearance. And unless you are forced to interact with someone (group work etc.), we generally don’t re-evaluate the first impression.

    That being said, my experience with expectations of personal appearance has changed over the course of the three years I have been at Georgia Southern. Having come from a small town where everyone knew you, and appearances where everything, I was trained early on that you should NEVER leave the house in something that you wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing on the side of the road (and in particular anything that would possibly lead someone who passed to believe you were a hooker or hobo).
    That ideology that “appearance is everything” came with me when I moved down to Statesboro three years ago. But it has been rewritten to incorporate the decisions particular to college life.

    Here are some of the adjustments I have made:
    • First and foremost, makeup is a lost cause in the summer—it melts off the moment you step outside.
    • If it comes down to finishing an assignment or straightening my hair, I’ll take the baseball cap and turn in a completed
    assignment.
    • If I must choose between walking into class late or looking like a hot mess for 50 minutes and being on time, I will always
    choose being present. Personally, I think its more disrespectful to the professor to roll in 10 minutes late everyday and look
    like a movie star than while I do it, than to be on time and occasionally look like death.

    That being said, as the work load of my classes has increased and in turn led to far less time I can devote to my personal appearance, I’ve made a general rule for myself—I require myself to choose at least one area to “prepare” for class: my hair, make-up (only applicable for fall, spring, and winter seasons), or my outfit. I have found that doing this not only makes me feel better about myself, but I also like to think that I’m not viewed as a total bum. You can’t ask a student who just pulled an all nighter working on a project or studying for an exam to look pretty.

  2. kellimartin

    I also agree. I find it quite distracting to be sitting behind someone who has their “unmentionables” exposed for the whole class to see.

    While I do not believe that students should have to wear business suits, or even business casual everyday to a public institution, I completely agree with your statement that “as a student you are working… for recommendation letters, as representatives of a campus organization…”

    I wore t-shirts on a regular basis, but they were not covered in pictures of beer mugs or inappropriate slogans.

    I think that no matter your role, you are supposed to dress the part. If, as a student, you feel your role is to be a slob and dress like an uneducated, unbathed rock star, then do so.

    But, if you are an aspiring business professional, it may be wise to at least dress with a bit of class.

    Here’s my rule of thumb: If I wouldn’t wear it in front of my grandmother, I wouldn’t wear it to class.

  3. Megan Piper

    I completely agree. When in college, I took the time to get ready for class, even when running late. Now in the work place, I would say that the habits need to be formed in college. I have seen some of those same people here at work, still dressing in less than their best. It influences how your employer or professor views your work for sure.

  4. Mrs. Groover

    I agree! I have no interest in seeing more flesh than necessary from my students. Not only should they respect those around them by how they’re dressed, but also respect themselves. The way you dress, whether you mean to or not, sends a message. That message may be I just rolled out of bed so I came in my pjs or put on the first thing you could find or it could be I took the time to shower, brush my teeth and put on some decent clothing.

    So far this semester (knock on wood) I have not had students come to class in their pajamas. That said, I have had a few students come in what looks like the clothing they wore the night before or a skirt that was just a smidge too short.

    • uandrews

      Yes. When you have students whose pants fall down during speeches, it’s time to re-evaluate. This happened during my class a few years back.