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Dressing for College...?!

Nov 07 2005 22:55
Duncan Richmond
In an official college notice of the 2nd November 2005 the College Management Board announces the College Dress Code to be implemented with immediate effect.
In clear view!

College Notice 9,2532839&_dad=portallive&_schema=PORTALLIVE of the 2005/06 academic year details the new College Dress Code which is now in effect.

The Dress Code was put forward for consideration to the College Management Board which consists of: The Rector (Chairman), Deputy Rector, Faculty Principals, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Finance, Director of Strategy and Planning, Pro Rector, Development and Corporate Affairs and the College Secretary. Stating that the document was considered "in the light of security concerns raised by the terrorist incidents which had occurred over the Summer" and that "the Board was mindful that the health, safety and security of members of the College community must be the College?s prime consideration at all times" the new dress code was approved with immediate effect as of the 2nd November.

The ?Security? section details that "At all times while on campus staff, students and visitors must wear their College Identity Cards or visitors? cards and these must be visible." with the aim being that "Security, Reception and other staff and students should be able to identify a person on campus, usually by comparing their face to the photograph on their College Identity Card." This supposedly ensures that uninvited strangers are not able to gain access to college buildings. However, many of the buildings in college experience very high volumes of traffic, in particular those such as Roderic Hill and the ACE Extension which lie on conveniently dry routes to the centre of the campus. Whilst some departments have forwarded this requirement to all their staff and students many college members still have no knowledge of this new enforcement of policy. In fact the first some members have heard of the whole dress code is when they have been greeted by a security guard spot check on their way into college!

There is also a comment made on ?Offensive Dress? where if "it is perceived that a particular slogan or symbol is offensive" then wearing clothing incorporating such devices "may be considered as a disciplinary offence and dealt with accordingly". Although, nowhere in the document is it detailed just who makes the decision as to whether a given symbol or slogan is offensive. After all if any student, either with or without grounds as seen by others, takes offence at any symbol, then it can be said that it is ?perceived? as offensive even if by a minority of one! Where is the line drawn...?

In line of course with equality regulations the code states that "Imperial College values the diversity of its staff and students and aims to create an environment where the cultural, religious and non-religious or similar philosophical beliefs of all are respected." and "The College welcomes the variety of appearance brought by individual styles and choices. The wearing of items arising from particular cultural/ religious norms (including, for example, saris, turbans, skullcaps, hijabs, kippahs and clerical collars) is seen as part of this welcome diversity". This is accompanied by point 10 of the code which outlines that if a conflict between an individual?s religious beliefs and the dress code arises, the issue will be "sympathetically" considered and a "satisfactory compromise" sought. Live! sources however have indicated that this is directly in conflict with the policy imposed on students in the Faculty of Medicine earlier this year.

This aside, those individuals who do not feel the need to dress according to particular religious or cultural beliefs "should refrain" from wearing clothing such as "scarves worn across their face", and in a similar manner to that of the management of the Bluewater Shopping & Leisure complex which aroused national media attention "hooded tops" are also listed as being unsuitable.

Whilst some departments have already forwarded this on to all of their staff and students, others are still unaware that this document even exists. This is probably not surprising given that the security guards within college probably have enough on their plates without chasing large portions of the student population around campus insisting they remove their ?hoodie? immediately or they?ll be removed from the campus?.

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Discussion about “Dressing for College...?!”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Nov 07 2005 23:44

This is a joke, right?

I had decided to stay out of commenting on anything, since my departure from IC, but this is utterly ridiculous. A dress code will do nothing to improve security on campus. It's the sort of fascist drivel I would expect to come out of France, not a supposedly liberal British university.

Nov 07 2005 23:55

Oh no, it's not a joke. It's an offical Edict that made the rounds on Friday.

1) Hoodies are banned. You have to be freaking joking right? Today I proudly wore my CGCU hoody to work. Total number of Security guys who complained can be counted on the fingers of no hands.

2) You must wear your swipecard at all times. Just like Sir Richard does when he buys his lunch from the JCR every day (he's the only one who can afford to anyway). Oh wait, no, he's not wearing his swipecard... In fact not a single Pro-Rector I've seen today has been. (and that's EQ and DCA - I wouldn't know "PG and Int" if I bumped into her)

3. Sid   
Nov 07 2005 23:58

Like all good policies everywhere, this one revels in its difficulty to be implemented.

p.s. Now that Guild's hoodies are officially illegal we are doing a special price of ?13 for each, get one now from the Guild's office.

Nov 08 2005 00:00

And incidentally religious headgear is OK - so those of you who disguise a bad-hair day with a turban will still be ok. My little known religion of "my head has no hair so it's freaking cold" makes my hoodie with hood firmly pulled up a religious garment. I can't wait to explain this to the College Equal Ops person, all in the name of religious diversity you understand.

That reminds me, I must visit one of them there internet sites and get myself officially ordained. It wouldn't do to neglect the paperwork now would it.

Nov 08 2005 03:18

Now that Jedi is an official religion I assume that the hoods of the respectful Jedi order dress are outlawed in all this nonsense....Also i wonder what security's reaction will be the gorillas that emerge once a year in the form of the hit squad!

Nov 08 2005 09:17

How can Mustafa say that preventing people from walking round with covered faces will not help security?

Surely been able to identify someone's face will help as we can all see who it is and the security cameras can provide reliable evidence as to who did what and when.

Someone walking round hiding there face (Whether it be with a hoodie, balaclava or religeous veil) would be very hard to identify from CCTV pictures, surely thats why criminals have historically adopted this disguise.

7. bob   
Nov 08 2005 09:30

I would laugh is this wasn't so insanely dumb.

What if I offend Daily Mail readers by wearing a T-shirt supporting asylum seekers - will I be escorted off campus?

Lots to look forward to I believe...

8. Seb   
Nov 08 2005 10:32

How unbelievably ludicrous.

I work off campus at UKAEA labs in Culham which actually does have security issues (Serious radioactive materials on site, tritium etc.) and this stuff for college goes further than they do!

Sure, we have to wear the pass at all times but that's about it.

Nov 08 2005 10:54

I feel an urge to start dressing as a nun... "The hills are alive, with the sound of music...."

Nov 08 2005 11:07

As long as you don't teach my 7 irritating children to sing again and dress them in curtains.

Nov 08 2005 11:09

In Portsmouth a judge has recently refused to ban a young offender from wearing a hoodie on the basis that since he's been caught 5 times in the past year the hoodie obviously doesn't hinder his identification.

12. Sid   
Nov 08 2005 11:09

As I walked past the Science Museum this morning, I noticed a sign in orange suggesting searching of bags.

I think it might be worth recommending to college to have sniper dogs with guards at each entrance, and a full body search for all entering the campus. I also think this should be followed by a full interrogation on each individuals preference of shoes, clothes, route, choice of subject, lunch, sleeping time, waking time and anything else that might be inane and pointless.

13. Seb   
Nov 08 2005 12:24

Sniper dogs?

My my, what have bio-engineering been up to?

Nov 08 2005 12:57

On entering the Natural History Museum through the Earth Galleries door the other week, all our bags were searched- every single pocket, compartment and pencil case. The Security guard wanted to confiscate my friend's nail-scissors. Ah, the terrorist havoc you could wreak in a museum with a pair of nail-scissors!

(All this whilst wearing our student passes that would allow us to use the other entrance with no searches at all- in the end we did just that, nail scissors and all!)

15. tom t   
Nov 08 2005 13:43


Nice to see the College finding new and inventive ways of wasting the extra money top up fees will provide.

Leave all lights , air-con and computers on at all times to safeguard against terrorists will be the next edict...... oh no everyone does that already.

But wouldn't the threat of terrorism be reduced if we tried to do something about humanitarian threat of climate change? 100m people (potential asylum seekers cum terrorists, mind) live less than 1m above current sea level, which could well rise

Nov 08 2005 13:47

Breaking news: international terrorist cell- having obtained entry to the country with fake passports, fake documents, fake identities, illicitly obtained explosives and an underground communication network- are foiled at the last hurdle by those totally un-forgeable College swipecards: now our security could only be threatened if they got access to computing facilities capable of two-tone blue Arial!

17. Duncan   
Nov 08 2005 15:04

It has to be said that in producing the image for this article my first port of call was to scan in my swipecard using OCR software. After about 30 seconds of playing with the results in a well known DTP package I said 'sod it' and created my own with identical fonts and colours in less than 5 mins. If I had a card printer.......

18. Jon   
Nov 08 2005 15:14

What a load of tosh, I hardly resemble my swipe card photo and nobody is going to tell me how to dress at University.

Thank god I am leaving this year, I hope I'm the last member of my family to be associated with such a farcical institution.

Nov 09 2005 00:26

I can't believe that the college has people in its employ whose job is to come up with drivel like this. The only consolation is that it probably cost a small fraction of the laughable rebranding a few years back.

Now, I'm off to buy some hoodies to wear round college this winter.

20. BrwnC   
Nov 10 2005 12:11

haha, very funny comments!

I think it wouldn't stop any terrorist with half a brain cell anyway.

(o dear thats probablt all terrorists..)

The wearing of swipe cards etc as a security measure only stops students who forget to wear them going about their business, if I really wanted to walk around college and didn't have a swipe card, as someone already said, i could knock one up easy!! and thats just with a student budget!!!!

I propose we all wear Orange Suits like at the other well known international Education instutute.

Nov 11 2005 01:30

Is it also part of the college's new security measures to have Police Comunity Support Vehicles drive through the gate, do a loop round campus and leave, every 4 or 5 hours?

Not that I'm in a position to realise that.

Nov 12 2005 22:11

*coffin creaks open*

This seems to me to be the perfect opportunity to introduce Union uniform, consisting of hoodies. The President can then wear it to College Council.

I'm glad the Management Board has dealt with every other issue of importance at Imperial, and can turn its attention to other matters...

The sooner Sykes goes the better.

23. Dan   
Nov 13 2005 00:09

*Coffin creaks again*

I believe C&G do a very good union hooded sweatshirt for only ?13.50 - the latest I heard they were selling out fast.

The illigal merchandise site can be found *here*

Nov 14 2005 16:55

This isn't a joke,

Its actually an infringement on civil liberties and seriously offensive especially to the muslim community. We are proposing militant action. Let the students of Paris be your inspiration. We can stop this.

~student respect society

25. Seb   
Nov 14 2005 17:28

Oh dear.

What, so we ought to go dig out cobbles, smash a few policemen in and set light to some cars?

Is it to late to ask for the dress code to include straight jackets?

Assuming you are serious

"The College welcomes the variety of appearance brought by individual styles and choices. The wearing of items arising from particular cultural/ religious norms (including, for example, saris, turbans, skullcaps, hijabs, kippahs and clerical collars) is seen as part of this welcome diversity".

How is this offensive to Muslims?

Nov 14 2005 17:50

"Let the students of Paris be your inspiration."

A few facts first I think. The rioting in France (hardly just Paris) is by and large not due to students but extremely poverished communities who have been excluded from modern society. They do happen to be mostly immigrant communities but this is not a racial issue.

Exactly the sort of people the middle class guilt ridden members of Socialist Worker and Respect have never met.

The rioting in Paris is highlighting a serious flaw in French society, and however absurd the college dress code it I hardly think it's on the same level.

Nov 14 2005 18:08


What about my civil liberties? I find it offensive to not be able to see someones face when I talk to them? It's not just the people who choose to follow certain religions that can get offended by others. It works both ways.

I also find it offensive that the security people who are there to protect me are stopped from doing so by not having the ability to compare the picture on the swipecard to the person infront of them.

28. Random   
Nov 14 2005 18:09

Isn't it about time that someone taught the "Student Respect Society" some manners and respect?

29. Seb   
Nov 14 2005 23:50

True Brit:

But then of course, the whole point is that no one should have a right not to be offended.

30. Moi   
Nov 15 2005 00:46

College suddenly decide (21/10/05) that they need a dress code. Last week they put up signs and suddenly had thousands of lanyards to hand out to people (I think most people have two or three by now). I have the following questions:

1. How did college get hold of so many lanyards so quickly.

2. Why did it happen so quickly and without consultation

3. If they had more time - would they have branded them (like the Tanaka ones)

It seems to me like there is a specific threat against the university so I would suggest that instead of bickering about the right to not have an ID card on show we should infact just wear them

Nov 15 2005 03:20

I've been in College every day bar one since the notice came out, and almost every day I go along the Walkway to the MDH for lunch, passing through Sherfield and Huxley, and occasionally Tanaka on the way home. I've not been stopped once, even when wearing a hoodie. It doesn't seem to me like this is being enforced like it should be if there was a serious problem, so why the "pushy" notice if they're not strictly enforcing it?

Nov 15 2005 13:23

On my way from Huxley to Civ Eng and back I saw 15 people wearing ID cards around their necks.

Of these 15, 12 had flipped around and were showing the mag-stripe side of the card.

33. Ruth   
Nov 15 2005 14:28

It's not like they actually look at your swipe card anyway, so it deosn't really matter what way round it is.

I actually think the point of this is nothing to do with our security but is to give us all the colour coded lanyards so security staff can identify that you are a student from a distance and be correspondingly rude and unhelpful. They are a lot more helpful and definitely more polite if you have a blue lanyard.

I wonder what a security guard would actually do if when asked for my swipe card I answered, "No, I haven't got one becuase I'm a terrorist!" Then ran away towards that huge terrorist target that is the Faculty Building to detonate my bomb!

34. Ruth   
Nov 15 2005 14:29

I don't think a lanyard is particularly safe in my lab anyway, which is why I'm using one of the old clip ones instead at the moment.

Nov 15 2005 14:48

The lanyard doesn't seem to be terribly safe in many places, although it does detach if pulled. If I was to wear mine all of the time I was on campus, my card would be scratched, covered in grease, have splashes of red, grey and black paint on it and more than likely a few holes from encounters with drills.

I'll happily wear my ID card if College stop charging for replacements - the only card I've ever lost was in a College-supplied belt clip when it fell out on campus somewhere, as I was walking around.

36. C!   
Nov 16 2005 23:26

Are we meant to be wearing them whilst cycling on campus? Seems a little dangerous

Nov 17 2005 15:15

It appears that a paper is being submitted to Union Council proposing that the union opposes the dress code.....

That will no doubt be thrown out pending the next request for money for the union master plan build....

Or am I just an old cynic?

38. Anon   
Nov 17 2005 16:34

Well, as Alumni, I'd like to point out the following:

I have a right, as a lifetime member of the union to remain participating in Union Clubs & Societies. The one I belong to is RCS Motor Club. The garage is near Mech Eng. I have to borrow someone's swipe to use the toilet. I do still have my original swipe, crest and all, but alas that's useless except for getting a student discount at the cinema.

When it gets very late, I cannot even get into Sherfield to use the toilets.

But my real point is, I cannot walk around wearing a swipe card. I have NEVER been stopped. I walk around Mech Eng, Sherfield, Huxley etc, no problems. Now, I'm no real threat to college, but according to the dress code, they should chuck me out? But then how can I participate in Clubs & Socs?

Maybe we should get alumni swipes?

39. Si   
Nov 18 2005 14:26

Just wondering:

don't suppose this has any connection to the incident reported in Felix where a non-student entered Beit Quad and treatened to stab a security guard, I remember he happened to be wearing a hoodie, so obviously

all hooded top wearers are dangerous thugs.

Nov 19 2005 14:55

Does "At all times" include when using the Mech Eng showers?

Nov 23 2005 12:04

I'm going to wear my hoodie all the time.

42. Raf   
Nov 23 2005 12:10

The Guardian has just published an article, it's nearly the top article on the page (besides the headlines) today on the 23rd November.,9830,1648360,00.html

All this doesn't really change anything for me. I'm not going to start wearing my swipe card round my neck, it's a pain in the a**e. Instead, I'll keep it in my wallet like I always have done and if somebody wants to see it, I can take it out and show them.

Likewise I will wear a hoodie when I feel like and if my face gets a bit cold, I'll put the hood up. If a terrorist came to Imperial, he'd be sure NOT to wear a hoodie now.


43. Dan L   
Nov 23 2005 18:03

The bbc also have a link on the front page:

44. Sam   
Nov 23 2005 18:24

much more importantly, it's reported on The Register

45. Sam   
Nov 23 2005 18:25

And while we're on Conspiracy Theories, has anyone noticed the RFID tags inside the new swipecards?

46. Sid   
Nov 23 2005 18:28

"However, we think it more likely that the college authorities, fully cognisant of the naturally rebellious tendencies of the average 19 year-old, has introduced the ban as a cunning marketing ploy to drive sales of just such items."

Can I just stress that Guild's hoodies are still available at ?13.50 a pop down at your local Guilds office.

47. Chris   
Nov 23 2005 18:37

Maybe the swipecard policy is to enforce the "no contractors in college catering" policy?

48. Dan L   
Nov 23 2005 19:30

The RFID is for access to new areas such as the Estates office where I resided over the summer - it seems the era of the mag strip is disappearing...

49. Sam   
Nov 23 2005 19:57

ICT DataCentre too - although I would suggest that a mission critical datacentre is far more worthy of RFID than the Estates Office...

I believe it's safer than a mag strip because it's harder to clone an RFID tag.

Nov 23 2005 20:15

And more reliable (mostly) than a mag stripe.

The car park under the faculty building appears to use the RFID tag too.

This does of course explain why my new swipe card stops my Oystercard working but my old one didn't.

51. Dan L   
Nov 23 2005 20:28


You are much mistaken - we (I use we since I still do some estates stuff) are reponsible for the thing that powers your datacentre - Electricity - without that your data centre is more than useless after the UPS runs flat...

And yes - we do generate our own power - the CHP is one cool thing.

Nov 23 2005 21:28

Well I look forward to coming back wearing my college hoodie and my expired swipe card.

The amusing nature of the new rules put aside, it's quite nice to see they haven't tried to enfore anything like the French la?cit?. Over here no religious symbols, clothing, preaching or practices of any kind are allowed not only in the college, but also in the halls of residence. Now imagine a policy like that.

53. ..   
Nov 23 2005 23:34

The Guardian still has a broken link (aimed at this page)

54. Editor   
Nov 23 2005 23:54

Their editors were informed of the fact some hours ago.

Nov 24 2005 00:39

Intercept the broken page, with a message saying "The Guardian sent you to the wrong place, you probably wanted <link>". Then add some sort of banner advert to it or a Google ad thingy and earn a bit of extra cash!

Nov 24 2005 10:26

And a piece in the Metro this morning...

Nov 24 2005 13:38

It does appear to be making a bit of a minor stir around the place...

I've come across 6 articles in external media so far ( Anyone know of any more?

Nov 24 2005 13:45

Rupert Neate was just on IC Radio saying he's done an interview with ITN.

59. Ruth   
Nov 24 2005 14:12

We were mentioned on the radio station that is on in my lab (Capital I think) news yesterday afternoon.

60. tom t   
Nov 24 2005 15:01


sykes must be loving it. ALl that publicity. for free. When will he introduce the campus asbo??

61. Lyndon   
Nov 24 2005 17:24

I can't help but feel this is purely a PR stunt. It seems to be making quite a few of the news channels!

62. Hmm   
Nov 24 2005 17:44

There are a lot of lazy journos about - they all appear to have ripped off the same original article because most of the quotes appear suspiciously similar.

Nov 25 2005 12:05

I've heard rumour that the new sports centre will only be accessable by people with the new chipped swipe cards and not the magnetic stripes. How does this fit in with the "free for all staff and students" policy?!

Nov 25 2005 12:49

You get your card replaced at the ID card desk?

Nov 26 2005 00:25

Even further afield ... although this seems to be one of the most balanced pieces I've read.

66. Sid   
Nov 26 2005 16:01

Picked up a copy of London Student, and for that I apologise profusely.

Anyways, stories related to Imperial seem to be sourced from Live! I mean it even quotes the comments on the forums, great for us, but raises questions about the nature of "investigative journalism".

Nov 26 2005 16:09
68. Sajini   
Nov 26 2005 17:37

Coverage from a progressive newsblog by one of the more approachable ULU Hacks :)

69. ant   
Nov 26 2005 17:38

With the london student article, they didn't even make it out of ULU to take the photo..

Although a reporter of theirs did make it all the way to ICU council on thursday, bet he didn't survive the duration though.

Dec 01 2005 19:03

Another hijack by SWSS methinks!

Dec 02 2005 17:38

or Respect

does anyone actually know the difference, or has SWSS teamed up with that famous Marxist??? Galloway so they can get his money and he can get their manpower?

Dec 06 2005 20:22

Has anyone noticed the police vans that circle the campus every two hours in the evenings. As regular as clockwork - you could set your watch by them!...

Dec 07 2005 22:19

Of course this is ban on the hoodies and the like is absolutely ridiculous.

However, what is all this hoo haaa about this being a policy that islamophobic? That is simply not true: there is no hijab ban at Imperial, as the above article states. To ban hijaab would of course be a breach of human rights. But the same thing is not true of "the half veil" or the "full-veil".

I don't think its particularly unreasonable to expect the niqab not to be allowed: otherwise how would you identify somoneone for security purposes. (Before I get accused of being islamophobic- I am Muslim btw). Moreover, it is irresponsible for the media to perpetuate the myth that this is ban is solely at Muslims.

Whilst I totally agree the College has no right to decide what the students wear, the truth is the truth. I get worried when left-wing politicians (such as Mr Galloway) use the claim of islamophobia to further their own political agenda.

Basically, all I'm saying why are people saying this is a hijaab ban when it clearly is not? People shoud be careful with the terminolgy they use, there is a siginifcant difference between hijab and "veil", the most imprtant being: headscarf (hijab) is an article of faith for Muslims women, whereas the niqab represents cultural rather than religious values.

74. ozone   
Dec 07 2005 22:23

Its all the Guardians fault. They inaccurately reported that Imperial did ban the hijab, hence all the fuss. Bloody sanctimonious, save the world treehuggers!

Dec 07 2005 22:28

Yes, but also went to George Galloway's talk at IC today. Level of propoganda was ridiculous. Don't get me wrong- am no fan of Mr Blair or Sykes, but also am not stupid enough to believe that life and politics are as simple as Mr Galloway makes them out to be...

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