A student at Brigham Young University’s Idaho campus was turned away from her final exam in December for wearing form-fitting “skinny jeans,” reports The Student Review campus newspaper.
Rachel Vermillion, a senior, thought the invigilator was joking when he first told her she couldn’t write the test because her pants were too tight.
But he was serious. He pointed to a sign that read NO SKINNY JEANS. The sign elaborated: “If your pants are tight enough for us to see the shape of your leg, your pants are too tight.”
A BYU-I vice-president later clarified that the university’s testing center had acted independently by banning skinny jeans and that Vermillion shouldn’t have been turned away.
But the confusion is understandable. BYU is owned by the Church of Latter Day Saints and has an “honor code” that requires students to agree they will “observe Dress and Grooming Standards.”
The Dress and Grooming Standards for women say: “clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing, has slits above the knee, or is formfitting. Dresses and skirts must be knee length or longer. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles and colors. Excessive ear piercing (more than one per ear) and all other body piercings are inappropriate.”
The Dress and Grooming Standards for men say: “Sideburns should not extend below the earlobe or onto the cheek. If worn, mustaches should be neatly trimmed and may not extend beyond or below the corners of the mouth. Men are expected to be clean-shaven; beards are not acceptable.”
Brigham Young University has 34,000 students and is America’s biggest religious school.
The scandal at BYU wasn’t the first time women’s clothing was an issue on campuses in 2011.
Earlier this year, a Toronto police officer suggested women “should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” That prompted the SlutWalk movement, which reminded the public through marches that women can wear whatever they like without inviting sexual violence.