Illinois State University's business college is implementing a dress code intended to give the students an edge in the professional world.
The College of Business at Illinois State University is taking aim at images of pajama-wearing students with backwards hats. Starting next week, students majoring in marketing or business teacher education will have to wear business casual attire to class or risk being sent home for the day.
While many business schools at colleges and universities encourage students to dress up for interviews and meetings, not many require a dress code in class. ISU officials implemented this code, they say, as a way to give their students an edge in the professional world.
Students were notified of the dress code in letters sent out in early August. This week works as a grace period before students and professors are required to fully adhere to the code Monday.
"We’re looking at different ways of enhancing the professionalism of our students," said Tim Longfellow, chairman of ISU’s marketing department.
The dress code is an extension of the College of Business’s standards of professional and ethical conduct, which encourages students and professors to dress appropriately in class. "In the wake of 9-11 and the (business) scandals that followed, businesses and the press started asking what business schools are doing or not doing," said Norris Porter, assistant to the dean for student services. "We wanted to make clear what we are about and make sure our students learned professionalism, so our standards were established," Porter said.
The marketing department began testing the dress code in select classes in 2003, and last fall, all students in the professional sales sequence were required to dress in business casual attire to class.
"I have noticed in my interactions with these students that when they come dressed in business attire, they look like they are ready to do serious work. They are attentive, they’re courteous and have a sense of confidence about them," said Amy Humphreys, assistant to the dean for constituent relations.
Longfellow said he is not aware of any similar code at a public university, but noted some private universities do have similar policies. He said medical and education programs in some public universities do require a similar dress code, however.
The dress code has received some criticism from the online blog College Freedom, where some expressed concern that such a policy could disproportionately affect poorer students. The blog states, "Buying business casual clothing may force already impoverished students to go into debt."
"I do think that it is something we have to be aware of," Longfellow said. "I have not had students come to me or faculty members to say they don’t have the money for this."
Reach Journal Stara reporter Fitzgerald M. Doubet at (309) 686-3041 or email@example.com.