Morehouse College Bans ‘Sagging’ Pants, ‘Grills’ and Other ‘Hip Hop Attire’
Morehouse College has launched an “Appropriate Attire Policy” in order to enforce a ban on “sagging” and other “inappropriate attire” associated with hip-hop style.
The initiative was created by Morehouse President Robert Franklin, in an effort to establish a student body of modern “Renaissance Men,” possessing a criteria which Franklin has coined the “5 Wells” — well-spoken, well-read, well-dressed, well-traveled and well-balanced.
To that end, the attempted “sagging” ban targets the style of low-riding pants popularized in the hip-hop community in the early 1990s and considered by many to have been inspired by prison, where violent offenders were refused belts in an attempt to prevent altercations.
For close to two decades the style has been typical of hip-hop attire, worn by men and women of all ages and races.
In addition to sagging, the measure bans hats, do-rags, grills, stunna shades (aka sunglasses), hoods, and even pajamas from Morehouse classrooms in an effort to, as President Franklin claims, “live up to” the school’s reputation, having turned out alumni like Martin Luther King, Jr., Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson and Saul Williams.
Morehouse is a traditionally black, all-male school, and along with hip-hop style, gay culture has also been targeted by the policy, which bans all female attire, including skirts, dresses, tops, tunics, purses and heels. The school denies discriminating against gays, claiming they discussed the policy with the local gay community.
Morehouse Office of Student Services VP William Bynum has admitted that the student body hasn’t entirely embraced the new dress code. “I would say that about 95 percent of the students on this campus feel that appearance matters to them,” Bynum said. “We are not trying to isolate anyone that falls under a category, you can just look at it like its one out of eleven things being addressed.”