Students develop a sense of personal style in college and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are no exception, but what happens when your school interrupts that creativity?
Hampton University is notorious among HBCUs for having stringent dress code policies. Hats, do-rags, halter and tube tops and other common styles are not permitted on Hampton‘s campus according to Hampton‘s website.
“If you violate the code the Dean might take your ID away, then on the second or third time you might get kicked out,” said Vanessa Fried, a junior majoring in nursing from Hampton.
Many HBCU’s have dress codes so students can prepare for their respective industries.
At Howard University in Washington, DC students in the School of Business are required a suit two days a week for orientation class, but some students don’t even mind.
“I got so used to having a suit on that I began to embrace it,” said Dorianne Mason, a senior majoring in international relations at Howard.
Florida A & M University students enjoy a degree of leeway with their dress code since there are no strict limitations.
“You are pretty much good as long as you are not naked,” said Shawn Adams, a senior engineering major from Atlanta said. ”FAMU’s business school is prestigious though so the business majors wear suits to the forums and they take that really seriously.”
Though people working in media often wear whatever they want, the Howard University John H. Johnson School of Communications is in the process of implementing a business-casual rule as a requirement for an orientation class. Business dress days range from twice a week to twice a month, so most students will still enjoy a degree of freedom.
A survey conducted showed mixed responses since many students were used to dressing down during their internships.
“People would look at me like I was crazy if I wore a suit to Blender magazine,” said Alyssa Foreman, a junior majoring in print journalism at Howard. ”It’s more appropriate for business majors but I understand they want to groom us.”
Some might gripe wearing business casual, but no matter their field of choice, presentation is key to getting a job.
“We carry ourselves in a more polished way when we are dressy,” said Eric Sheaves a sophomore majoring in marketing at Hampton. “Everything from posture, to body language improves. Once we leave school there will be no handholding us, so we should heed to these dress days as an opportunity to improve our professional image.”