After arriving at freshman orientation, ENC students are asked to embrace the school handbook, which includes guidelines as to what and what not to wear.  But I wonder to what extent students actually follow the guidelines, and whether they are enforced by college personnel.

On page 26 of the 2014 ENC handbook, we read: “No person shall dress in an inappropriate manner…It is unacceptable for men to go shirtless, except when involved with athletic activity. Short shorts for men and women are inappropriate wear. Women’s attire involving bare midriffs, spaghetti strap tops, tube tops, and halter tops is unacceptable…”

My opinion is that since this ENC is a Christian institution, students should follow the handbook and dress respectfully.  They should dress with their environment in mind. While students are adults, they sometimes need to reminded what that means.

I understand that appropriate dress varies according to body type. ENC is a diverse campus with students sporting all kinds of shapes and sizes. Often a person’s body affects what they wear. For instance, a petite girl wearing a short black shirt accompanied by tights could be flattering and modest on her.  On the flip side, however, a girl with a more voluptuous body might make that outfit too revealing, and out of sync with ENC’s dress code.

Junior student Shelly Greaves explains her interpretation of the dress code.

“I don’t think there is a set dress code for everyone. For instance, curves can make anything look different or more provocative. I’ve seen people get away with a lot of suggestive attire.”

Although section 3 of the ENC student handbook sets institutional expectations for student behavior, will any offender be punished?

“The student handbook gives the rules of a dress code as guidelines for educational purposes,” Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs and Student Transitions Robert Benjamin said.

“No one is going to be running around with a ruler measuring skirts and things like that, but there are those who will tell someone to go change. When students wear things that are inappropriate, that’s when a conversation needs to happen,” Benjamin continues.

As a college student and an adult, I believe students can decide what they wear, so long as their choices respect the guidelines of the ENC community. Clothes reflect our personal, and institutional, identity.