Florida A&M plans to implement a dress standard for students that would cover any clothing that could be considered “inappropriate,” including offensive messages on T-shirts, starting this fall.
The new rules take aim at attire such as “pajamas, midriffs or halters, mesh…pants below the waistline revealing undergarments, do-rags and/or hoods in classrooms,” among a host of other clothing styles, according to the memorandum issued recently, titled “The Millenial FAMUan: Dress Standards.”
“At Florida A&M, students should dress in a way that shows respect for not only themselves but all other students,” the memo reads. “We believe Famuans would expect students attending the university to dress in such a way that would uplift their race, culture and professionalism.”
This statement was given in a handout to deans, faculty and support staff members earlier this month with details and information discussing the dress standards. It defined inappropriate as “anything that may cause a disturbance to the learning environment.”
Many students agree that their peers should try harder to dress professionally. Music education student Cassandra Jenkins argues for clothes that better reflect the university environment.
“I do feel we need to address the situation maybe some nice jeans and respective tops and men pulling up their pants,” Jenkins said. “But you can’t tell people what to wear but we need to start treating ourselves like young women and men of the future to come.”
It states in the handout that the dress standards not only improves the quality of one’s life, but embellishes the overall campus image.
Entomology student Kaniesha Barr said, “I know that not every student has the funds to change their whole wardrobe, yet students should put in the effort to look presentable while attending classes. Casual to business casual attire should not be an issue for young adults.”
The document also argues that proper dress and manners will enhance the student’s “essential areas of development necessary for propelling them toward successful careers.”
Administrative, faculty and support staff members will be expected to monitor students’ dress for violations and report them to the dean of students’ office.
Janyah Glenn, a criminal justice student said, “I didn’t even know we had a dress code. The code is reasonable, but then again, we are adults and we pay to attend this school, so we should be allowed to wear what we want.”
Some students want FAMU to be stricter on dress, but at least one professor says he thinks FAMU’s attention is misdirected.
James Earl Norman, Spanish language researcher and teacher at FAMU, said, “The times have changed, and some styles are a bit disconcerting, but the school board should understand that one cannot change the evolution.”
He continued with criticism of implementing the new standards.
“It’s a stupid idea and the school board priorities are misplaced. They should focus on the classrooms that are so hot that students cannot learn in.”
Tawana Thomas contributed to this article.