Morehouse Implements a Dress Code

*Photo taken May 2007
The most interesting bit of style news I came across last week was the news that my beloved alma mater, Morehouse College, has recently implemented a much needed dress code.

Truth be told, this "new policy" has always existed and was present in my student handbook when I attended a few years, yet not enforced. Honestly I believe the administration decided to actually implement it when students on campus started wearing women's clothing. Yes, you heard me. Women's clothing! Only having attended myself a couple of short years ago, I was both shocked and offended by my younger brothers who decided that it was acceptable and appropriate to adorn womenswear on the same grounds where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Dr. Benjamin Mays and even Spike Lee were bred.

I applaud Morehouse's new president, Dr. Robert Franklin and I have absolutely no doubts that he has only the best intentions with this new policy. I think its going to reinforce the culture of our Dear Ol' alma mater. There's been a huge backlash from the student body, especially with respect to the gay students on campus. What I don’t want is for this to be misinterpreted as discrimination because the policy also clearly includes sagging pants and hats, amongst other things. I just don’t think this is one of those issues where exclusion was the aim of the institution. It's one of maintaining high moral standards. I think allowing students to dress in women's clothing only perpetuates the stigma we already have, sends the wrong message and serves as a distraction to what we are really about. The media never wants to talk about all the positive aspects of our institution. They'd rather linger on how the students at that all Black male school are wearing heels and the first White valedictorian. Meanwhile the preceding class (mine) had 2 valedictorians; one who attends Harvard Law and the other, U Penn Medical School. I said all this to say that the Morehouse brand is important and it must be maintained by all who accept the challenge. While it's not an obligation, when attended such an institution, I believe it's an understood personal responsibility. I'm all for self-expression, no matter it is that you decide to wear, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere.

The new policy is an effort to “get back to the legacy” of Morehouse leaders, Dr. William Bynum told the AJC, vice president of the Office of Student Services. “We expect our young men to be Renaissance men,” said Bynum. “When people go about campus we want them to represent the college in an appropriate manner.”

Below are some examples of what students are no longer able to wear:
  • no caps, do-rags and/or hoods in classrooms, the cafeteria, or other indoor venues
  • no sun glasses worn in class or at formal programs
  • no jeans at major programs, as well as no sagging pants on campus
  • no clothing with derogatory or lewd messages either in words or pictures
  • no wearing of clothing usually worn by women (dresses, tops, tunics, purses, pumps, etc.) on the Morehouse campus or at college-sponsored events.

1 comments:

Issa Rae | October 21, 2009 at 8:35 AM

Well said. I think it's extremely to important to understand that this is NOT about discrimination, but maintaining a certain collective image. Anytime I tell someone both of my older brothers went to Morehouse, they raise their eyebrows like "...Oh ..."

I only found out that men were donning heels from this new coverage, and even then I was hoping that the media was completely blowing it out of proportion.