Cross-dressing has been banned in an all-male college in Atlanta, Georgia. Wearing of women's clothes, makeup, high heels and purses are now out.
The "Appropriate Attire Policy" also bans wearing hats in buildings, pajamas in public, do-rags, sagging pants, sunglasses in class and walking barefoot on campus.
AdvertisementMorehouse President Dr. Robert M. Franklin, Jr. is implementing the code as part of his "Five Wells: well read, well spoken, well-traveled, well dressed and well balanced."
Those breaking the policy will not be allowed to go to class unless they change. Chronic dress-code offenders could be suspended from the Morehouse college, run by Afro-Americans.
"The image of a strong black man needs to be upheld," said Cameron Thomas-Shah, the student government co-chief of staff, "And if anyone sees this policy as something that is restrictive then maybe Morehouse is not the place for you."
Daniel Edwards, co-president of Safe Space, a gay straight alliance student campus organization said he has heard from students that are for and against the policy, but he believes it is discriminatory.
It is the restriction to women's clothing that has many students up in arms.
"Some believe that this restriction is what the entire policy is correlated around," added Edwards. "It is all an issue of perception and what manner of image you want to prescribe to."
Senior Tyrone McGowan said he has mixed feelings about parts of the policy.
"But I have been inspired by the conversation it has created," he said. "We have to find a way to create diverse leaders from this college. I don't want this to place all of us in one box."
But the new policy is not meant to be discriminatory, said Dr. William Bynum, vice president for Student Services.
"This is necessary, this is needed according to the students," he said. "We know the challenges that young African-American men face. We know that how a student dresses has nothing to do with what is in their head, but first impressions mean everything."
The dress-wearing ban is aimed at a small part of the private college's 2,700-member student body, said "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," he told CNN.
An official letter last month from the college when an employee was fired for anti-gay remarks in an e-mail said that the insitution "has a no-tolerance position on discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."
This year, the college has touted a "Renaissance movement" that supposedly celebrates its gay students.
Still the crackdown on cross-dressing comes from the vision of the college's president, who wants the institution to create leaders like notable graduates Martin Luther King Jr., actor Samuel Jackson and film director Spike Lee, it has been claimed.
And Morehouse is not the only college to enforce a dress policy.
Hampton University also has a dress code, including within its business school where students with braids or dreadlocks are encouraged to cut their hair. And Bennett College, in Greensboro, N.C., has enforced a policy similar to Morehouse's.