University officials enforce performance, attire rules for organizations

With various campus modeling and dance organizations pushing the envelope with their performances at Florida A&M University, the Office of Student Union and Activities is increasing its enforcement of rules and regulations.

Recently, modeling and dance organizations have been criticized for the explicit content in their performances.

In order to perform on campus, organization participants must sign a rules and regulations form. These rules include university policies, as well as directives concerning appropriate clothing or apparel.

According to a memorandum from Henry L. Kirby, associate vice president and dean of student affairs, while performing or participating in acts or activities which include, but are not specifically limited to, dances and or modeling, all participants must wear appropriate clothing or apparel to cover the following body parts: breast, buttocks and genitals.

Before group performances, a staff member from OSUA speaks with organizations to make sure the guidelines are being followed. The staff member will usually attend a dress rehearsal to make sure the attire is not too revealing.

Saundra Inge, OSUA associate director OSUA, said she thinks these rules are necessary. “The things that go beyond our social setting we don’t promote or tolerate,” she said.

Performances should have an educational air, and the rules are not to inhibit performances, Inge said.

Boyz of Poison, a campus dance troupe, hosted a fall showcase Nov. 15 called Battle Zone.

“There’s no set rules, no set policy, (the university administration) treat us like kids. We’re not breaking any rules in The Fang,” said Romain Brissett, director of Boyz of Poison.

Brissett said Boyz of Poison performances are target-audience based.

“Battle Zone was targeted towards freshmen and sophomore women,” said Brissett, “and it was appropriate for that targeted group.”

But Kirby said, “You have to remember…target audience can’t be maintained on campus, we’re a public university.”

Kirby also said organizations need to keep in mind what they are trying to convey to their target audience.

Sade McCaleb, a 21-year-old biology pre-med student from New York City, is a member of Essence Dance Theatre Inc., an organization whose members pride themselves on being ladies instead of showing off their bodies, McCaleb said.

“Your talent is what you should focus on and not on the Wonderbra,” she said. She said she thinks guidelines for attire are necessary.

Kirby said there may be more rules implemented for dance organizations beyond attire and aimed at the actual performance.

Brandon Stewart, 22, president of FACES Modeling Troupe Inc., said no guidelines were given when they registered as a campus organization.

“Usually they wait until after the show to tell us what we shouldn’t have done,” said Stewart, a psychology and social science student from Columbus, Ga.

The advisers to the various organizations are also responsible for ensuring guidelines are followed.

“OSA and Student Affairs don’t have enough manpower to attend all the events. The adviser is supposed to be in attendance and ensure (an obscenity) doesn’t happen,” Kirby said.

For more information on guidelines, see the student code of conduct, The Fang.