Hanover College Triangle on


Mike Palmisano [Triangle editor], "Focus On . . . Dress Policy," Triangle, 6 February 1969, 3.


Students at Roxboro Junior High School in Cleveland Heights have rebelled against dress codes.  One of their arguments for determining their own dress was, "colleges don't have dress codes."  I would be the last one to disenchant the hopeful ninth-graders at Roxboro who have petitioned Principal James Gordon, but, well, we know better.

Roxboro Junior High School students are puzzled by an educational institutional process which is supposed to teach them maturity, responsibility, and how to make their own decisions, but which clutches fervently to right to dictate what the students shall wear.  As Hanoverians can well attest, Roxboro's ninth-graders flatter us, but are erroneous in generalizing that "college" is a mecca for practicinvitizens.

There are still some colleges which consider it their right and responsibility to determine the attire of their students.  Hanover is one such college.

Hanover College's dress policy is more specifically leveled at its women as if to protect the more gentle sex from the inconvenience of thinking for themselves.  Men, however, have not been exempt, and at times have been told to shorn sideburns and cut their hair.

Women's dress policy stipulates that "acceptable dress for classes, assemblies, night classes and public sports is school clothes (skirts or dresses)."  It goes on to order "school clothes" for the Administration Building (at all times), in Madison, the upper floors of the campus center, and in all classroom buildings (optional for labs) until 3:30.

It is not unreasonable that the school has attempted to set some kind of dress decorum for particular areas of student activity.  Society does the same.  Restaurants, movie theatres, country clubs, churches, and many other places where people meet for an expressed purpose set accepted rule for dress.

Hanover's dress code, however, goes three steps further.  First, a business establishment, like a theatre, for example, does not demand an outlandish dress for its patrons.  A sports arena would not demand that girls wear skirts or dresses to a "public sport contest."  Hanover's dress code does.  Such a ruling is dubiously reasoned, and it seems out of touch with the nature of the activity.

Second a night club would hardly regulate its patrons' dress after they had left its premises.  Yet, the college dress code here forbids "casual" dress in Madison for women.  Actually, what coeds wear in Madison should be of no concern to the college.  When in Madison, the student should be answerable to minimal dress statutes for that city, not the Dean of Women unless the city of Madison and the college have some little deal worked out that we do not know about.

Thirdly, while Hanover College might want to designate appropriate dress decorum for various areas of activity, suggesting skirts for classroom and Administration Building, and sweatshirt for the basement of the J. Graham Brown Campus Center, it should leave it at that.

In short, administrators are going a bit far when they inform coeds repeatedly that their skirts are too short, and that if they do not lower them, they will be barred from eating their meals in the JGBCC.  This has happened at Hanover this fall.

Principal Gordon of Roxboro, when asked in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about his students' desire for change, returned, "I haven't told them I'll accept it.  All I did was say I'd consider it."  He continued, "they have to realize that a lot of people are affected by any policy change here….parents, staff, and other students."

"Warden" Gordon will "consider it."  He also makes an interesting point by naming least of all, the student as one of the groups which will be "affected by any policy change."

Gordon is obviously one of the school of thought which envisions the educational institutions as existing for the perpetuation of the mores and codes of the staff and parents rather than for maturing the student's capacity for deciding what is best for him.

Call it the generation gap if you like, but I fail to understand educational administrators who seem to be afraid of letting students work it out for themselves - - like Principal Gordon.  Could it be that by doing that they would be moving themselves out of the picture just a bit more but then, who is the school for?  Such a revelation should not make the administrator uneasy.  Rather it should be an exciting experience assisting students think for themselves is the "controlled" and supposedly healthy atmosphere of the school.

Give them the challenge and they might shock you and do something intelligent.

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