Dress code is serious business in many city colleges – so much so that even prominent guests invited to deliver lectures are asked to leave if they are not dressed ‘appropriately.’
On Wednesday at 8.30 a.m., when city-based blogger Kiruba Shankar arrived at R.M.D. College of Engineering to deliver a lecture on entrepreneurship, he was informed by college officials that the pair of denims he was wearing was ‘not allowed’ on the college campus and that he would need to change into a pair of formal trousers before he gave his lecture.
The college, like many other engineering institutions in the State follows a strict dress code that doesn’t allow its students to wear tee-shirts, jeans or other casual outfits.
“I was dressed in my signature attire – formal shirt, corduroy jacket, blue denims and suede leather shoes. This is the similar attire I have worn for all my teaching assignments and corporate meetings for as long as I remember. Never once had I faced a problem,” wrote Mr. Shankar on Facebook , as part of a post. that had nearly 300 shares and 600 likes in half a day.
When contacted, Mr. Shankar said he had no problems with the college, but was upset that the authorities refused to let him speak to students. “I tried making them understand that I am here because of my experience and the value I can add to the lives of their students but they said their rules were more important than anything else.”
He said he was offered formal clothes to change into but he had refused to do so. “It defeats the purpose of entrepreneurship. You cannot impose your dress code rules on a visiting entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley to Bangalore are dressed in casuals. What matters is how hard they work, and how differently they think.” He also said he had never been told about the college’s dress code.
R.M.D. College officials however, said they had informed Mr. Shankar about the dress code. “We invited him to our boardroom and gave him an honorarium too. We are very particular about our rules and expect everyone, including guest lecturers to follow them,” said a senior official.
“And this was a seminar for final-year students and those interested in entrepreneurship. We wanted them to take the presentation very seriously,” he added. The officials also said they had only requested Mr. Shankar to change his outfit. “We really don’t know why he left so abruptly.”
Read the opinion piece by Nandita Jayaraj on The Hindu Blogs here.