On Main Campus, aesthetics and education seem to go hand in hand, as it’s safe to say that Temple is one of the most stylish college campuses on the East Coast.
While that’s a gorgeous title to possess, it’s not what convinces many students to spend four years of their lives here.
Education and aesthetics are not one in the same. But for Hampton University, a private historically black college in Hampton, Va., it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch.
In late January, the private school told students in its business school that they could sport their “nicely tapered” afros, but cornrows and dreadlocks were no longer acceptable hairdos for them if they were looking to enter into corporate America through the business school.
Sid Credle, dean of the business school, told the Associated Press, “When we look at the top 75 African Americans in corporate America, we don’t see any of them with extreme hairdos.”
In short, Credle and the rest of his administration were saying, largely white corporate America does not look like that, so you may as well suit up now, or be out of a job later.
In this policy, the university sends a strong message of conformity. Not only is such a policy discriminatory, it places an emphasis on aesthetics.
How a person wears his or her hair is a part of his or her identity.
Nonetheless, the university should be commended for having their students’ best interests at heart in wanting to make sure that, upon graduation, each student is exposed to what it deems are the realities of corporate America. For that administrators deserve an A.
But for sending such a message, they get a D.
For many students, the purpose of attending college is to diversify one’s knowledge and to expand on knowledge already gained from prior schooling.
Changing one’s identity should not be a requirement for success and the university certainly should not be teaching this to its students. Conformity is not equitable to success.
Will business students be encouraged to get plastic surgery to fix that bump on a nose because an employer may not find it sexy?
Ideally, students would like to have the comfort and security of knowing that after spending thousands of dollars on their education, their hairdo will not influence whether or not they will receive employment post-graduation.
It’s no secret we live in a superficial society, but we expect such emphasis on aesthetics to come from beauty magazines, not from an educational institution.
The final decision is up to the student who will ultimately have to decide whether maintaining an identity trumps employment.
Still, universities like Hampton should come to realize what business they’re in.
Leave the grooming to the likes of the nearest Chop Shop.