Last week, Trustee Torey Alston proposed that a dress-code-of-sorts be put in place for students at Florida A&M.
In my four years at FAMU, I have seen outfits on my classmates that made me feel either insulted or embarrassed.
Dress codes already exist in certain schools, colleges and divisions within the university: the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the School of Business and Industry, to name a few. Certain classes also have an explicitly stated dress code for enrollees.
But Alston wishes to take these dress policies a bit further.
“I am not advocating a dress code policy. I am advocating that we have a standard for what a millennial FAMU student looks like, and I think dress and appearance plays a big role in that. When you’re in college, freedom of expression is very important,” Alston said.
Speaking of the Millennial Famuan, some the hottest trends in campus fashion are literally, “so-last-century.” But I digress.
Alston’s recommendation is commendable, especially given the university’s mission.
FAMU’s historic mission has been to educate blacks. And, as The Famuan reported last week, the number of black men on campus is on a downward spiral.
Unfortunately, some of those men who are fortunate enough to be on a college campus can barely walk around “the Hill” because they have to pull their pants up every couple of feet.
The same goes for some of the women, who can’t get to class on time for the entire semester because of chronic “camel toe.”
Like it or not, what you wear is reflective of your personality, and, more importantly, your values. Moreover, the overall fashion choices of the student body are a depiction of the culture and priority of our university and its administrators.
If a large number of male students appear as if they are going to rob you, then it follows that the people who run the university aren’t too far removed from a life of crime.
If most females attend classes in “club attire,” then FAMU being caught in the middle of a sexual harassment scandal won’t be surprising to outsiders.
Picture a person who is not a part of the “FAMUly,” or, better yet, has never heard of an HBCU. On any given day, they choose to satisfy their curiosity and visit FAMU.
Chances are, when they step out of the car, the first thing they will see is cleavage and camel-toe, which are being transported by 5-inch heels.
This person has just witnessed the attire of the typical student and will be left with the same negative imagery of young black people as they see in media…uneducated, with no moral compass and salacious.
Alston is not asking for a dress code to be implemented. After all, this is college, a place where freedom of speech and expression are protected and should be appreciated by all.
But we all know that sometimes freedom isn’t so free…someone is paying a price for the reckless fashion statements made by a number of FAMU students.
If the first thing a professor sees before a lecture is some guys’ day-old boxers, he or she has just paid a price.
If you are in the middle of an engaging class lecture, and it is interrupted by some girl’s wandering cleavage, which is followed by the “cat calls” of your male classmate(s) or maybe even your male professor, then you have just paid a price (trust me, I’ve witnessed this on multiple occasions).
It’s a cold world out there. Why would administrators want to send FAMU graduates into that environment barely clothed?