In an attempt to eliminate inappropriate attire, prestigious HBCU and private institution Morehouse College has adopted a policy that bans sagging and other styles associated with Hip-Hop culture.
The Appropriate Attire Policy initiative is the product of Morehouse President Robert Franklin, who is seeking to reestablish what hes coined as the modern Renaissance Man. That individual, Franklin states, possesses the 5 Wells of being well-spoken, well-read, well-traveled, well-dressed, and well-balanced.
Sagging is said to have originated in the penal system, where prisoners were unable to keep their pants up due to belt confiscations to prevent suicides and murder.
The style eventually made its way to popular culture courtesy of early 90s Hip-Hop, when multi-platinum artists like Naughty By Nature and Kris Kross adopted sagging as an accessory to their fashion ensembles.
Although viewed as a style for juveniles, some prominent Hip-Hop artists in their 30s and 40s still utilize sagging in videos, concert, and award show appearances.
Along with the new sagging ban, students will not be allowed to sport any form of grillz, do-rags, hats, stunna shades, hoods, or pajamas to class.
In another controversial move, the Atlanta college has prohibited any students from wearing female clothing, such as dresses, tops, tunics, purses, and pumps.
School officials have argued that none of the new rulings were designed to discriminate against students who identify with Hip-Hop or gay culture. Instead, President Franklin states he hopes to have the next generation of Morehouse graduates live up to the schools legacy, as seen in notable alumni such as Martin Luther King, Jr, Spike Lee, Samuel Jackson, Maynard Jackson, and Saul Williams.
While acknowledging student reaction has been mixed, Morehouse Office of Student Services VP William Bynum explained that the majority of students would just have to make minor adjustments to their dress.
“I would say that about 95 percent of the students on this campus feel that appearance matters to them,” Bynum told the Maroon Tiger, Morehouses school newspaper. “We are not trying to isolate anyone that falls under a category, you can just look at it like its one out of eleven things being addressed.”
On the gay rights issue, Bynum revealed that administrators first consulted the campus’ gay rights oganization Morehouse Safe Space, to make sure their policy was in order.
We talked about it and then they took a vote. Of the 27 people in the room, only 3 were against it, Bynum stated.
Morehouse College has an estimated student body of 2700, and is one of two black institutions to produce a Rhodes Scholar (1994, 2001, 2004).
At press time, the school has just completed its Homecoming Week, which featured concert appearances from Lupe Fiasco, B.O.B., and Roy Ayers.