The School of Nursing took down dress code posters inside its building on Wednesday after receiving criticism online for the signs being targeted toward women.
The sign called for revealing clothing not to be worn inside the building because “it distracts from the learning environment.” The sign cited “midriff-baring shorts,” “short-shorts,” “short skirts,” “low-rise pants,” and “low-cut shirts that reveal cleavage” as types of clothes not to be worn inside the building.
Before being taken down, the poster was criticized on social media sites and in a post on Jezebel, a women’s interest blog. The School of Nursing later released a statement saying that the sign was a mistake and did not reflect the intent of the school’s dress code policy.
“We have several dress codes, including one for clinical, building dress codes,” said Gayle Timmerman, associate dean for academic affairs. “Being a professional school, we are portraying we want students to have a professional image,”
Nursing senior Liana Chau said she has seen similar signs in recent semesters, but she also sees students wearing what they want to class.
“Well, when I first read that sign last year, at first I thought it was kind of unusual that the school would actually release a statement like that because typically when you’re in college, the colleges don’t really enforce what a student would wear,” Chau said. “At the same time ... I understood why they would need to tell the students to dress professionally, because it is a job that’s going to evolve to being in the professional world where you have to dress correctly.”
Chau said when the temperature is hot outside she usually wears shorts and a t-shirt.
Timmerman said the dress code has been in place for at least five years.
“It’s in the student handbook, and we don’t have it posted all the time,” Timmerman said. “Occasionally, we’ll put it up as a gentle reminder that we are a professional school and that a professional image in expected.”
Timmerman said she believes people misperceived the intent behind the sign, and the school’s policy is gender neutral.
“The sign itself didn’t reflect the intent of the policy, and there were several things in it that led people to have a negative response,” Timmerman said.
Nursing senior Stephanie Astle also said she has seen similar signs like this before, but said the signs were not up for a long period of time. Astle said she has discussed the signs with her friends, but she normally does not wear clothes in violation of the dress code.
“Most people are in scrubs 95 percent of the time anyways, because that’s what is considered ‘proper dress code’ in many of the courses,” Astle said.