Young men of Morehouse, pull up your pants, remove your do-rags and remove your shades and hats when you enter a building.
Thanks to a new policy on the campus of Morehouse College, they are no longer permissible.
The new policy is an effort to “get back to the legacy” of Morehouse leaders, said Dr. William Bynum, vice president of the Office of Student Services.
“We expect our young men to be Renaissance men,” said Bynum. “When people go about campus we want them to represent the college in an appropriate manner.”
The policy details 11 expectations of students, including:
* 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.
Students that violate the new rules risk academic suspension.
Bynum said most students are supportive of the policy.
Cameron Thomas-Shah, the student government co-chief of staff, is one of them. While working as a resident’s assistant (RA) he said he noticed freshmen dressed in a way that was unflattering to Morehouse.
“The image of a strong black man needs to be upheld,” he said. “And if anyone sees this policy as something that is restrictive then maybe Morehouse is not the place for you.”
Daniel Edwards, co-president of Safe Space, a gay straight alliance student campus organization said he has heard from students that are for and against the policy, but he believes it is discriminatory.
It is the restriction to women’s clothing that has many students up in arms.
“Some believe that this restriction is what the entire policy is correlated around,” added Edwards. “It is all an issue of perception and what manner of image you want to prescribe to.”
But the new policy is not meant to be discriminatory, said Bynum.
“This is necessary, this is needed according to the students,” he said. “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.”
Morehouse is not the only college to enforce a dress policy.
Hampton University also has a dress code, including within its business school where students with braids or dreadlocks are encouraged to cut their hair. And Bennett College, in Greensboro, N.C., has enforced a policy similar to Morehouse’s.