The Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, has reacted to a trending circular announcing a dress code purportedly for students of the university.
The Public Relations Officer of the university, Abiodun Olarewaju, in an interview with a correspondent of The PUNCH on Monday, said the trending circular was not from the management of the university.
Olarewaju who added that even though the management was considering the decision, noted that the management would not want to step on toes.
In the circular that has been trending since Sunday, rustication for one semester was highlighted as punishment for students that commit misconduct such as putting on “sexually provocative dresses, backless clothes, transparent wears, off-shoulder clothes, bomb shorts’, etc. Another misconduct contained in the circular includes “unwelcome touching, kissing, and hugging of the opposite sex, massaging or sitting on the laps by the opposite sex,” all liable to rustication for two semesters.
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Male students were warned against “Hair plaiting or weaving,” among others.
But Olarewaju said, “It (the circular) is not from the university administration. Although we’re working on our own, I think those who brought that out are just being mischievous. Maybe they’re trying to gauge the minds of the people and the students, but definitely, this is a university and we cannot accept any kind of dress, we have decency.”
Reiterating that the university was considering a dress code policy, the school PRO said, “Of course, we’re on that but we want to be sure we are not stepping on toes.”
Students and alumni of the university have since Sunday expressed displeasure over the purported move to regulate dressing on the campus.
Some of the students and alumni gathered on X during a space on Sunday night to discuss the matter, with many of them kicking against the move.
The Students’ Union leadership of the university had in a statement late Sunday also kicked against the proposal of a dress code for the students.
“As a union, we differ with the plan of the management to regulate students’ mode of dressing which is a violation of their rights to freedom of expression as guaranteed in all known laws.
“We must state unequivocally that the university campus is not a prison and that the use of uniform is really backward and archaic as it does not in any way contribute to the learning process,” the statement jointly signed by the President, Secretary-General and the PRO of the union, Abbas Ojo, Opeyemi Akinboni and Omisore Elijah, respectively, partly read.
The Sec Gen of the union, Akinboni, in an interview with our correspondent on Monday also confirmed that the union indeed received a memo from the university.
The memo which was copied to the students’ union and the staff unions on the campus, was dated August 8, 2023, and titled, “Review of the Code of Conduct for the University Community and Other Policies in the University.” The unions were urged to send feedback to the Directorate of Legal Services of the university.