Update 5p.m.: We did hear back from UT Austin officials who had to send out a statement on the matter. An update post follows.
After the feminist website Jezebel broke news of a sign hung up around the UT Austin's school of nursing sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday, university officials were quick to respond.
The sign. which called revealing summer attire (mostly women's clothing items) a "distraction" to the learning environment that must not be worn, was taken down by Wednesday afternoon, according to the school's Assistant Dean, Gayle Timmerman. "We're focusing on students portraying a professional image, regardless of where they're at," she told Hair Balls.
She said a part-time staffer created four signs that were meant as "friendly reminders" about the school's dress code. Yes, there is a dress code and it does say "Revealing clothing must not be worn," Timmerman told us. However, it's not a gender-specific guide. So the part about cleavage that's in the original signage that drew the attention, she said, isn't really in the actual student handbook.
What is in the student handbook, Timmerman tells us, are examples of revealing clothes which include shirts that expose the midriff and short, short shorts.
"Could we state it better? Obviously it hit a nerve with a lot of people," she said.
Here's the text of the nursing school's statement on the matter:
Earlier today, it was brought to our attention that yesterday a poorly worded sign about our dress code had been posted on the School of Nursing's elevator bulletin boards. We want everyone to know that we've taken the signs down. The wording of the signs made it sound as though we were worried about women's clothing as a distraction in the learning environment. This is not the case.
Like many schools of nursing and medicine, we have a student conduct policy that prepares all of our students to work in professional clinical settings. This policy includes a dress code - which we have had for many years and which our students understand is part of their education. Each semester, we send competent, capable, and compassionate men and women into the nursing workforce where they face many policies and procedures. Our code of conduct is part of getting them ready.
The signs we have taken down were not an accurate reflection of our policy. We're not in the business of measuring skirt lengths. We are in the business of educating a new generation of nurses. Gayle Timmerman, RN, PhD - Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Original story If you're a cleavage-bearing student at UT Austin's School of Nursing, we feel bad you. You're just a big walking violation around that piece (maybe), at least according to a sign that reads: "Revealing clothing MUST NOT be worn while in the school of nursing building. It distracts from the learning environment."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The feminist website Jezebel wrote about the sign that carries the school's name, which was sent to them by a reader. We called the School of Nursing and are waiting on word if the sign is actually official or not. Someone answering the phone there didn't deny that the signs existed, and said she didn't know if it was "official". We then got passed to a voicemail.
If the sign is proven to be official as they say, then there's a big "X" through the following styles: midriff-baring shirts, short-shorts, short skirts, low-rise pants, and low-cut shirts that reveal cleavage.
Pretty much anything you'd see in a hip-hop video is banned there. We can see why, I mean, from a perved out professors perspective, it could be excruciatingly hard to concentrate on teaching while watching students tilt their heads down to type, or worse, bend over to pick something up.
Still, we see why this would piss people off. We might lack some feminist credentials, but damn, let a woman live and wear what she wants. It's hot up in here.