Anger as Ugandan university bans miniskirts, lipsticks, trousers and polished nails

Mildred Europa Taylor Dec 20, 2018 at 12:00pm

December 20, 2018 at 12:00 pm | News

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor | Head of Content

December 20, 2018 at 12:00 pm | News

Bugema University, Uganda. Pic credit: campustimesug.com

As part of moves at ensuring that students dress decently on campus, authorities at Bugema University in Uganda have restricted female students from wearing miniskirts, lipsticks, earrings, and makeup when the next semester begins.

According to a directive from the management of the university, the above items and others such as sleeveless and open tops, coloured nail varnish, trousers and dresses above the knee line have all been banned.

“No student should come back with the above mentioned next semester. Culprits will face university disciplinary committee for serious action,” an excerpt of the notice, dated December 12, 2018, read.

“We have been taking these students through these rules, especially during their orientations but to our disappointment, some of them end up falling culprits of indecent dressing,” the university dean of students, George Mupaghasi told Ugandan media, New Vision in an interview.

The ban on the aforementioned items affects borders and day students, and its implementation started on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. Per the rules of the school, students are also entitled to give management prior notice before going anywhere.

“We have done this because in case any of our students get a problem along the way, we are held accountable so, we need to protect them as we reserve the positive image of the institution as well,” Mupaghasi said.

“We need these students to dress in a respectful manner as stipulated in our university handbook” he added.

Bugema University began as a training school for teachers and pastors for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1948. It later changed its name from Bugema Missionary Training School to Bugema Missionary College and subsequently to Bugema Adventist College.

In 1976, the institution applied to offer Theology degrees but the Ministry of education and sports, and the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist, cleared the college to start offering bachelor’s degrees in different disciplines, said the New Vision. The institution is now called Bugema University.

In some universities in Africa, concerns over indecent dressing have triggered dress codes.

School authorities have usually been compelled to adopt dress codes for students or update the current form of clothing due to some cultural and moral values, as well as, academic and safety reasons.

In 2017, Zambeze University in Mozambique, as part of its dress code policy, banned students from wearing sandals, shorts, tight dresses and dreadlocks on campus. There was also controversy when the University of Lagos in Nigeria banned transparent clothing, spaghetti tops, mini-skirts, and tight-fitting clothes in February 2017.

For most universities, the move is to protect mostly female students from harassment and sexual violence.

Critics, however, argue that such dress code policies are a violation of their human rights and freedoms and have wondered the kind of correlation between dress and sexual harassment, or academic performance.

According to the University World News, a research paper from Uganda it cited that dealt with sexual harassment in medical schools recommends that administrators promote decent dressing of female students “to avoid luring males into sexual feeling and behaviours. Institutions should design decent uniforms for medical students where need be”.

Yet, most students across many African universities would have none of the above and would continue to raise issues as to why school authorities have made dress codes a major concern.

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