•Varsity enforces new dress code as security men turn fashion police at campus gates
By Sam Otti
Ladies that ‘dress to kill’ risk being arrested by the fashion police stationed at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo. A wind of change swept across the 33-year-old institution recently with the new administration enforcing a dress code that ruffled the pride of many ladies.
Although the Biblical narrative recorded that Eve ate only an apple to discover and cover her nakedness, the temerity exhibited by several ladies accosted at the gate to cover their nakedness or be denied entry to the university have left the fashion court dazed.
No doubt, the strict enforcement of dress code for all students, including lecturers by the new Vice Chancellor, Prof Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun, was received with mixed feelings by some students guilty of fashion misconduct.
The new dress code forbids, among other things, transparent dresses, mini and skimpy skirts/dresses, body hugs, spaghetti wears, mono straps, wicked straps, boob tubes, lacey camisoles, backless tops, cleavage-exposing outfits, low neckline shirts and blouses and other wears revealing sensitive parts of the body, tattered, dirty jeans with holes and obscene or subliminal messages, baggy, saggy, ass level and over length trousers, tight fittings e.g. leggings, hipster, Patra, and Lacra that reveals body shape and contours of the body, T-shirts and tops with obscene, obnoxious or seductive inscription, chest, bust, belly, backside, arm, thigh and leg-revealing outfits (male & female), wearing of loose tie, folding, holding and pocketing of tie, shirts without buttons, improperly buttoned, rolling of sleeves or flying of collar, face caps or complete covering of face, piercing of body and tattooing, wearing of ear-rings by male students, wearing of nose ring, very big dropping ear rings and necklaces by female students, wearing of bogus distractive knocking shoes like stiletto to lectures and the library, plaiting, wearing, bonding of hair by male students, bum shorts, knickers, tight shorts and slacks are allowed only for sports, slippers, bare foot and bare body, lousy, unnatural/artificial hair attachment beyond shoulder length, in fact, general unkempt appearance.
Education Review reporter visited the institution recently to observe compliance to the new rule and met a motley of protesting ladies, biting their lips because the security men prevented them from entering the university for improper dressing. The eagle-eyed security men, armed with guns and local batons, stood sentry at the pedestrian gate like fashion police and waved aside ladies with sleeveless tops, mini skirts, three-quarter trousers or weird hair styles. Also male students with tattoos on their bodies, or sagging trousers were adjudged guilty of fashion offence and disallowed from entering the university.
Investigation by this reporter revealed that the new dress code came into effect as a desperate attempt to save a sinking ship. Battered by serial crisis that painted LASU in lurid pictures, the new administration has vowed to launder the image of the state university. The university had in recent past been encumbered by serial students’ unrest, leadership tussle, de-accreditation of academic programmes and allegations of fetish voodoo.
Proof of the seriousness of the management to raise a new LASU from the ashes of old was seen in the bold banners that hung consciously at various locations on campus. The banners screamed out message like: “Proud to be LASU”; “We are LASU, It is a new dawn.”
Comments by students revealed that they were willing to collaborate with the management to rebuild the fallen fortresses of the university. One of the students, Abdulsalam Sulaiman, 400 level, Law, applauded the new dress code, which he argued would restore sanity on campus. He explained that some female students deliberately put on provocative dresses that expose their erogenous zones, thereby constituting an irresistible distraction to the opposite sex in classrooms.
“Some female students dress to lure lecturers. Indecent dressing could make a lecturer to sexually harass female students. But the truth is that these ladies make the first offer by their suggestive dressings”, he explained.
Sulaiman maintained that the new dress code would restore decency in LASU, recalling that the dress code was introduced in the university by past administration but suffered effective implementation.
He said those kicking against the new policy were fighting the wind. “When laws are made, there could be initial resistance and complaints. But generally, it is for the good of all”, he said.
Olajide Amina, a Moslem student (she wears Hijab to school), argued that every responsible child should imbibe the culture of decent dressing. According to her, responsible students do not need a fashion police to stop them before they know that they were improperly dressed.
“It is not an infringement on students’ right. I do not agree with those that see it as a denial of their right. Every institution or society is governed by law or unwritten codes. The students have to accept it or leave the campus”, she said.
Another student, Hikonah As-Sideeq, said ladies that dress improperly face numerous harassment from amorous men, including bus conductors. She advised students to dress with a sense of decency and not to be carried away by ungodly fashion.
Education Review gathered that the new VC, Prof Fagbohun, has been diligent in his efforts to rebuild a new LASU, devoid of the old ways. In his inaugural address, titled, “Our Past, Our Future: A new dawn for the Lagos State University”, he noted that the university was facing ‘unprecedented challenges and epidemic of unrests that are seriously threatening our cherished traditions and our heritage of excellence in teaching, research and scholarship’.
Prof. Fagbohun called for urgent measures that would pull the university back from the brink, lest something untoward could eclipse the institution in years to come. “Regrettably for us in LASU, we have far too often derailed by disunity, incoherence of purpose and the pursuit of mundane primordial interests. We have for selfish personal gains undermined one another and pursued the model of appeasing ourselves for the short term to the detriment of the primary objectives of our great institution and our long-term performance. I daresay that if we keep on this path, the ultimate narration of our story will be one of self-destruction. We are all culpable in this macabre dance of emptiness that has left in its trail a legacy of ugly developments”, he warned.
The Vice Chancellor explained that LASU, as a part of the world cannot be indifferent to the never-ending global competition that is shaping the fate of institutions.
“Just few days ago, a university in Nigeria, the Covenant University proudly received a patent for an invention. The Covenant example points to how an institution like ours can benefit the society and be in the league of world class institutions that are keeping the leading edge sharp”, he said.
He disclosed that he was driven by a sense of urgency and restlessness to reclaim the respect and acclaim that the university once enjoyed, insisting that LASU, as a citadel of academic excellence, must be let out of its present bondage.