SI Adresses the Dress Code
Colin Feeney ’15
Recently the student body, faculty, and staff completed a Deans-sponsored dress code survey spurring rumors that ranged from free dress to a full-fledged uniform.
Surprisingly, over 1000 students responded to the survey with an equal mix: 263 freshman, 274 sophomores, 300 juniors, and 262 seniors. To put the number of reports in context, voting for executive council had record-breaking votes of just
“Students should be allowed to wear blue jeans” Student Feedback over 600 students. Why the survey for dress code in the first place? According to the deans, the goal is to make rules more appealing to the SI community while simultaneously increasing the amount of people who actually follow the code instead of making up countless excuses as to why someone “has no other choice but to wear Lululemon leggings.” Additionally, the Deans say the major-ity of dress code violations come from women.
Speaking in women’s defense, Lizzie Ford ’16 says, “It’s hard to find polos in stores that we consider fashionable.” For the guys, breaking dress code usually involves not shaving. The survey reveals that 88% of SI students understand why dress code is necessary, and 71% of students believe that the current dress code is sufficient. However, two main issues kept popping up in survey results and the comments: Blue jeans and button down shirts. In the words of Ms. Levine, “Most of the student comments show their desire for blue jeans and button down shirts.” 80% of students believed that blue jeans should be acceptable, while only 41% of teachers concurred.
Many may wonder why SI has not allowed blue jeans. Going back in history, Levi Strauss invented jeans for the purpose of working in the mines. At the time, education across the country frequently asked for more formal apparel to reflect academic pursuit. Jeans, working pants, were too informal for school administrations. Today, however, Ms. Levine says, “We admit that it’s a strange nuance, and it’s hard to describe why we wouldn’t allow blue. We don’t want kids to wear jeans that are faded and torn. Blue jeans tend to be the ones that we buy that become faded and torn, or are purchased pre-torn and faded. It just helps for our students to look a little more neat and clean. It’s easier to police for us to say, ‘No classic blue denim.’”
In the survey, the Deans also asked for opinions on button-down shirts, uniforms, free dress, and mandated school polos. Between the faculty and student surveys, the majority agreed that button downs should become part of the dress code. Gina Bruni ’15 believes, “Girls and guys should be able to wear button down shirts because they look nice.” 84.8% of students disagreed with uniforms for SI, while teachers split evenly from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” Interestingly, SI students split on the issue of no dress code with only 35% strongly agreeing or agreeing. SI logo polos received 70% disapproval from the student body and are not likely to be mandated.
On the whole, the deans believe that dress code enforcement, not the code itself is the larger issue. Ms. Bricker, member of the dress-code committee, believes that “In order for the dress code to be effective, we must have buy-in from both students and faculty: students who abide by the dress code and faculty who enforce the dress code.” In the words of Ms. Levine, “The changes won’t be drastic in the coming year. We are looking to allow button-down shirts. We are concerned that young ladies will take advantage of that.” Countering, Mr. Gotch remarks, “We are waiting until Katie Topel ’14 graduates to allow button-downs.”
Choose groups to clone to: