A Class Act — Should Students Dress Up for Class?

From uniforms to regulated skirt lengths; from bans on ripped jeans to shirts saying “Up yours!” most of us are familiar with dress codes–But what about at the college level?

Admittedly, it’s a short list of colleges in America that impose dress codes on its students. While it’s become an accepted practice for business schools, like the University of Michigan, to require students to dress a certain way, the idea of a campus-wide dress code doesn’t quite sit right. Should Albion join in?

In 2007 Illinois State University instituted a dress code policy for its business students. This policy was meant to better prepare students for the real world. The University of Michigan instituted a similar policy requiring business attire in the classroom for business students. Some students were outraged by the new requirements, feeling that it limited their personal freedom.

Currently Albion College has no formal policy regarding student attire. Sally Walker, Dean of Students, said, “I really do not have an opinion in that I do not observe our students in a classroom setting on a regular basis.” Walker also said that the issue has not been raised to her office specifically.

But some believe that there is a standard of dress that students should abide by. Bill Bartels, professor of geology, said that he did not think a dress code was appropriate, but that does mean that every student knows how to dress for class.

“I do however feel that students should be appropriately dressed for classes and meetings,” Bartels said.  “My own issue is with students showing-up for class looking like they just rolled out of bed. I’m sorry, but pj’s just are not appropriate.”

But the question has not yet been answered—how important is it for students to “dress for success”? Does it outweigh a student’s right to dress as they choose or feel most comfortable?

“I believe some students focus better in different attire,” Alissa Gadouas, *** junior. “I have some friends who say they get “dressed up” for class because they are more awake and therefore are have better concentration. On the other hand I also have friends who say when they dress up they are more uncomfortable in class and therefore find it harder to pay attention.”

Luckily, it doesn’t seem as though Albion administration is making any moves to implement a dress code. But the expectation is out there: dress for success.

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