Fashion Police: University Coordinates Graduates’ Outfits for Professionalism

As graduating seniors prepare for the big day, they assemble their entire wardrobe for the weekend. However Florida A&M has the final say on Dec. 16 with the university’s graduation dress code policy.

Since fall 2010, males have been required to wear dark dress shoes, dark pants, a white shirt and dark tie. Graduate males are required to wear a dark colored jacket to distinguish themselves from undergraduate males.

Mason Marshall-Duncanson, a senior political science student, said the new dress code is an infringement on students’ freedom of expression.

“If the outfit is of good taste, the graduates should be able to wear whatever he/she would like,” said Marshall-Duncanson.

Females are required to wear a dark skirt or dress, dark shoes, preferably with a low heel for safety reasons, a white blouse and a small purse, if needed. No flip-flops, sneakers or tennis shoes of any kind are permitted for males or females.

Faculty members are also encouraged to wear similar attire as the graduate degree students according to gender. And, if an organization is in good standing with the university, students may wear the organization’s paraphernalia. The guidelines for the fall 2011 commencement dress code, as well as the rest of the ceremony can be found on the university website.

Tiffany McGriff, graduating nursing student, doesn’t mind whether or not graduates are required to follow the new dress code.

“It’ll look good because we’ll all be uniform and it’ll feel good to be a part of the FAMU family for what will be some of our last time on campus,” said McGriff. “Besides, almost everyone should be used to some type of dress code from forums and other classes.”

Students are divided about their feelings toward the new dress code. Some said it should not matter what students wear underneath their gowns because it is hardly visible, while others said the dress code makes the ceremony look professional.

Senior Registrar Officer, Desi Jenkins, said the university has always had dress code requirements for graduation, most students just failed to adhere to the guidelines.

“Students just believe the dress code is new because it is now in writing on the website, whereas before it wasn’t, but we’ve always had one. Maybe now, more graduates will come dressed accordingly,” said Jenkins.