Kierra Leggett | Editor-in-Chief
In 2001, Hampton University banned all male students enrolled in the University’s five-year M.B.A. program from wearing their hair in cornrows or dreadlocks. Eleven years later, the controversial ban set in place at the private and historically black university is making headlines yet again.
On Friday, Aug.24, blackamericaweb.com ran an article headlined, “Hampton University Business School Bans Locks, Cornrows” that discussed the merits of the policy. Almost immediately the story went viral with black americans taking to Twitter and the Web to voice their opinions.
Among those reacting to the 2001 ban, Shiona Turini, former Teen Vogue Accessories Director and Hampton University alumna tweeted, “Love Hampton, but this is all kinds of stupid.”
Despite the criticism surrounding the policy, Sid Credle, dean of Hampton University Business School, and also the man behind the polcy, defended it. “ All we’re trying to do is make sure our students get into the job, what they do there after is their business.”
For Malcolm Brown, a N.C. State junior majoring in Communication, the University’s policy is a bit much. “I think the ban is really stupid and closed-minded.” When asked if he would ever cut his hair, Brown, who has worn his hair in dreadlocks for five years, said, “No, not for a degree.”
Kayloni Witherspoon, a senior majoring in Design Studies, made the decision to transition from relaxed to natural hair two years ago. Witherspoon said this of the cornrows and dreadlocks ban at Hampton: “I can understand what they were trying to do as far as encouraging students to maintain a professional persona, but requiring students to cut off their hair is extreme. They could have instead established guidelines for students on how to keep them [their braids and dreadlocks] up.”
Thus far, 99 percent of graduates from the University’s program have been placed into jobs; further grounding Credle in his stance on the policy. “I mean Charles Drew didn’t wear it, Muhammad Ali didn’t wear it. Martin Luther King didn’t wear it,” said Credle.
Should colleges and universities be able to ban students from wearing certain hairstyles?