Last week, Krishna Menon College in Mumbai denied admission to a student as she was not ‘decently’ dressed. The indecent part of the attire was tight skinny jeans. The notice board of the college also had instruction on maintaining a dress code and it read, “The students are expected to maintain the decorum of the college with respect to behaviour. They should wear simple but not tight dresses.”
Principal of the college, SV Fadnis, in an interview to a news channel had said, “We have not stopped students from wearing jeans. We only say that they should not wear tight jeans.” A student of the college had also said that, “Students are denied admission if they do not adhere to the dress code. There is a male peon to keep an eye on what the girls are wearing.”
HT City asked college principals their take on dress code in colleges. “Dressing up is a personal choice of students rather than dictatorial issue. If the wearer has no problem with what he or she is wearing then who are we to have problems with it? Frankly they come here to study and after that if they wear less clothes or more clothes it is upto them,” says PC Jain, principal of Shri Ram College of Commerce. “Only on very special occasions such as annual day or big seminars we expect them to turn up dressed in proper fashion but on regular days it is their choice.”
Dr. IS Bakshi, principal of Dyal Singh College, says, “I don't think the authorities should get involved in deciding the dress code on what is to be worn by students in college. It is the parents and students, who are adults when they come to college, who should take a call on what to wear. Admission is always given on merit.”
Authorities have no issues on dressing up as long as the students maintain certain decorum. Dr. Vijay Laxsmi Pandit, principal of Rajdhani College, says, “As long as they keep decency and the social setup in mind, the authorities should not have any problems. Ours is a co-ed college where we have never had any problems with the way anybody dresses up. And we never plan to go in for a dress code.”
Though students also think that a dress code is not needed, but many feel that while going for admission interviews in colleges, one must not be dressed in a manner which might get unwarranted attention. Shruti Nijhawan (name changed on request), who gave her interview at St. Stephen’s college for admission said, “I love wearing mini skirts and shorts. But when it was interview time, I dressed up in formal shirt and trousers to look smart.”
Other controversies over dressing
In 2009, four girls’ colleges of Kanpur University had banned students and teachers from wearing jeans, danglers, sleeveless blouses and heels.
In April, Vice-Chancellor of Dr MGR Medical University in Tamil Nadu proposed a dress code in an effort to render the college campus ‘sex-less’.
In 2006, Anna University in Tamil Nadu banned T-shirts and jeans on campus, saying they contributed to indiscipline.