This following is a guest blog from Kesha Perry, on of my colleagues at the Stennis Institute of Government (reprinted with permission) -
Morehouse College. History. Tradition. Martin Luther King, Jr., Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Maynard Jackson, and countless others have roamed the halls and grounds of this private, all-male, historically black institution. Recently, Morehouse has instituted a dress code policy in efforts to “get back to the legacy,” according to Dr. William Bynum the school’s Vice President of the Office of Student Services. He continued, “We expect our young men to be Renaissance men.” This policy was not only driven by the powers-that-be at Morehouse, but also by student leaders. Cameron Thomas-Shah, student government’s co-chief of staff, believes “the image of a strong black man needs to be upheld. And if anyone sees this policy as something that is restrictive then maybe Morehouse is not the place for you.”
Morehouse is not the only historically black college or university (HBCU) to institute a dress code. Hampton University has instituted one, which also encourages its graduate business students with locs or braids to cut their hair. Bennett College in North Carolina has adopted a comparable policy as Morehouse’s.
Included in the new dress code policy:
–no caps, do-rags and/or hoods in classrooms, the cafeteria, or other indoor venues
–no sun glasses worn in class or at formal programs
–no jeans at major programs, as well as no sagging pants on campus
–no clothing with derogatory or lewd messages either in words or pictures
–no wearing of clothing usually worn by women (dresses, tops, tunics, purses, pumps, etc.) on the Morehouse campus or at college-sponsored events.
Those found in violation will not be allowed to attend class until they abide by the new policy. However, repeat offenders could be subject to suspension.
The one restriction that has many students upset is the no wearing of women clothing. Co-president of Safe Space, a gay-straight student alliance, Daniel Edwards believes the policy unfairly targets gays. “Some believe that this restriction is what the entire policy is correlated around. It is all an issue of perception and what manner of image you want to prescribe to.”
Click here to read a CNN article regarding this restriction of the policy.
Dr. Bynum believes this policy “is necessary, this is needed according to the students. We know the challenges that young African-American men face. We know that how a student dresses has nothing to do with what is in their head, but first impressions mean everything.”
(Interviews courtesy of Mashaun D. Simon of the Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Published in: The Black Man on October 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm Comments (1)
Tags: Atlanta Journal Constitiution, Bennett College, CNN, Dr. William Bynum, Hampton University, HBCU, Jr., Martin Luther King, Mashaun D. Simon, Maynard Jackson, Morehouse College, North Carolina, Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee