There are some schools and jobs that pose strict dress codes, some that require a uniform and some that take a more lenient stance.
USF has no dress code. Browsing through the Student Code of Conduct will reveal offenses such as theft, harassment, stalking, hazing and many others, but no rules mention what a student should and should not wear.
While I believe that students’ freedom to choose their attire without limitations is empowering and refreshing, maybe a few simple rules would keep some from going too far.
A common argument against college dress codes is that students are at an age where they can decide what they should wear – that they have reached the proper level of maturity. If that is the case, I find it ironic that businesses, and even city departments, feel the need to implement a dress code for their workers.
Brooksville, Fla. initiated a dress code for all city employees to ensure personal hygiene, according the Associated Press. It requires underwear and deodorant while prohibiting offensive clothing. These rules are not overbearing, but provide a reasonable limitation as to what is acceptable attire for city workers.
Most college students wear inoffensive clothing, but I have seen outfits that make me cringe. I’ve seen underwear and butts hanging out of shorts, see-through tops and T-shirts with sexually demeaning phrases. I’m pretty sure that every student has at one time sat next to the kid who didn’t feel the need to wear deodorant that day, and it actually makes paying attention in class pretty difficult.
Some universities do have dress codes, including Hampton University in Virginia, which bans tube tops, bandanas, short shorts, cut-off T-shirts and more. Illinois State University’s business school has a “business casual” dress code, and a South Carolina private school, Bob Jones University, has a very strict dress code for its students. This includes requiring loose clothing that allows for “three inches of ease” and very particular hair styles for men. Also, any article of clothing revealing a logo is prohibited, according to the university Web site.
There have been cases when dress codes have backfired, such as in August at Richmond High School in Indianapolis. According to Fox News, the school year began with new rules against any clothing with logos and designs such as stripes, plaid or any type of pattern. The rules even prohibited shirts that revealed a female’s collarbone. Protests broke out, and 169 students were suspended.
Some dress codes are far too restricting and do more harm than good by keeping students out of the classroom. However, schools should allow students to choose their clothes, with a few limitations.
Ashley Darby is a senior majoring in creative writing.