Dress code has long been in place but rarely enforced. This year, ACU is encouraging Residence Life and faculty to crack down on the infamous policies.
A dress code is in place at nearly every university, though some colleges are more strict than others. ACU’s policy has been at a happy medium, allowing weather-appropriate clothing choices during the hot summer months, but also ensuring that too much skin isn’t exposed. However, very few students have ever had an experience where they were asked to cover up.
Faculty members, professors and Residence Life workers have been encouraged by the university to enforce dress code.
“It’s good to just be respectful of other people,” said Kari McQueen, senior elementary education major from Georgetown and residence assistant in Sikes. “It’s harder to enforce at this level because everyone is adults so you can kind of do your own thing.”
Making young adults do something like dress a certain way can prove a challenge, especially when RA’s and staff have other things on their minds, said McQueen.
“I think it is important but also I feel like outside of the freshman class, I don’t see any huge problems with their dress code and I don’t think it’s as necessary,” said Anne-Marie Coffee, junior graphic design and advertising major and assistant director in Gardner. “Being an AD in a dorm working with freshmen, we have to talk to them a lot at the beginning of the year about dress code. We’re good about telling the girls that when you’re out of dress code or when you dress really inappropriately that you really stick out as a freshman.”
“We try to enforce it as much as possible but at the same time we do understand that they’re adults and they can make their own decisions,” said McQueen. “If we see something that’s really obvious we aren’t afraid to be like, ‘hey, that’s really not appropriate to be on campus’ but there are other things that I feel we let slide a little easier.”
For the freshmen and sophomores in dorm life, it can be hard to listen to their fellow students telling them how to dress.
“There’s a lot of, I guess, knowing where our authority is,” said McQueen. “We’re not their mom, we’re not their parents, but we do care about them and we want them to be presented in an appropriate way.”
RA’s and other ResLife workers can only do so much, because their authority is mainly in the dorms. In places like the Rec Center, dress code is strictly enforced and a sign clearly shows what is and isn’t allowed. Once students enter the classroom, however, it’s the professors who are left with the decision to address the issue.
“I think some professors already are [enforcing dress code]. I know there is at least one professor who keeps a blanket or Pancho in her class and if your shorts are too short they will make you put a blanket over it,” said McQueen. “I think others will be more lenient and not know when it is something they should address. And I think it’ll take time to, I guess, find their authority in it as well because they are our professors.”
In the classroom, calling out a student can be awkward and unless it is an extreme case, it’s usually not a priority when teachers have tests to grade and lectures to give.
“I don’t think it’s going to be very effective,” said Coffee, “just because professors have so many other things on their minds that I don’t think that’s going to be a priority and honestly if I were a professor I would forget to think about it unless I saw someone who was dressed inappropriately.”