"We are talking about five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men"-Dr. William Bynum, vice president for Student Services
The controversy continues over the new dress code issued to Morehouse College students by President Robert Franklin and every one seems to have an opinion. The new dress code has been the topic of conversation from college campuses to CNN and was even apart of this morning's Hot Topic's segment on The View.
The policy bans wearing hats in buildings, pajamas in public, do-rags, sagging pants, sunglasses in class and walking barefoot on campus. But the new rule that is getting the most attention is the ban on men wearing garments traditionally reserved for women. Morehouse has implemented a "no cross dressing" rule that has quite a few people up in arms.
This latest controversy comes just 2 weeks after a Morehouse employee was fired for sending a homophobic e-mail blasting the nuptials of a black gay couple from her work e-mail account.
Morehouse also has a reputation for being one of the most homophobic HBCU's despite having it's fair share of gay students. It's also important to note that the campus gay organization Safe Space voted 27 - 3 to support the new dress code policy.
Safe Space president Kevin Webber offered this quote to Inside Higher Ed: "If male students wear feminine clothing what impact does it have on how intelligent they are, their grade point average and how much community service they do? We are focusing too much on the exterior. If you put a clown in a suit, he's still a clown."
Here's a sample of the reactions from folks across the blogosphere:
So here’s the thing though. You might as well have kept that long extensive list to yourself and did this instead:
*Clears throat* *taps mic*
“No gays or thugs allowed. Thank you. Management.”
So at Morehouse you can shoot a fellow student three times and stay in school, but rockin some 6-inch Louboutins will get u suspended? WTF?
Patrik-Ian Polk via Twitter
The issue of whether Morehouse has the right to impose a dress code is separate and apart from whether or not they should embrace broader definitions of manhood and masculinity. It's a private school and no one is forced to go there. You can choose from thousands of other institutions. However, if you choose to enroll, then you must accept the school's rules. You don't get to negotiate them.
But Morehouse also needs to understand that "men" come in a range of forms, and not some narrowly drawn Black image from a John Wayne picture. They have had and will continue to have male students who defy existing images of masculinity, but who are no less capable of excelling in life and serving as a fine example of the Morehouse graduate.
As an African American man who has deep sense of admiration for Morehouse's legacy (confession: I was very close to choosing Morehouse over NYU for college), I'm disturbed. This "proper attire" policy not only obviously contains an egregiously heterosexist bias, it also contains a deeply problematic class-politics.
Let's be real, Morehouse Pres: are we afraid that if these Morehouse boys wear baggy jeans, they might look a little too much like the local, poor community of the Castleberry section of Atlanta (where Morehouse is located)?
Frank Leon Roberts via The Daily Voice
I think it's a safe assumption to say the "T" is there as lip service based on that vote. Given how there's already a lack of affirmation for LGB at many HBCUs, the trans issue is simply not enough on the radar to put up a fight, and that's sad.
Pam Spaulding responding to the disappointing voted by Morehouse's Safe Space
So where do you stand on this issue? Do you agree with the new dress code or do you believe it's another attempt by Morehouse faculty to push it's openly gay students back into the closet?