U. Texas Nursing School Removes 'Sexist' Dress Code Reminders

June 5, 2014

The University of Texas at Austin took down dress code reminders that some found offensive in its School of Nursing Wednesday, but not before they made waves among students and on social media. The signs, which a university spokesman said were posted Tuesday by a well-meaning but ultimately misguided part-time staff member, told students not to wear "revealing clothing" that "distracts from the learning environment." Among a list of prohibited items were short skirts and "low-cut shirts that reveal cleavage." A student reportedly took a picture of one of the signs and sent it to Jezebel, which ran a critical post. "Remember, ladies! If you want to study to be a nurse at the University of Texas, you can't show too much of your midriff and thigh!" the post reads. "Because if your patient sees too much of your 'distracting' skin, he or she might forget to stop dying while you're trying to treat them or something." The piece was picked up by other blogs, including Feminist Philosophers.

J.B. Bird, university spokesman, said the signs were up for a total of 18 hours, and did not accurately reflect the college's dress code. Bird said the School of Nursing is the only part of the university that has a dress code, and that it exists not to police student apparel but to prepare future nurses for a profession that has a strict dress code, mainly for safety reasons. The school code applies to all nursing students, including the college's approximately 100 men, he said. On a university Tumblr account Wednesday, Gayle Timmerman, associate dean of academic affairs at the nursing school, said: "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."

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