Student senate opts for a business casual look for Monday night meetings

Divided between image of professionalism and inclusivity


Photo by Raina Beutel

Story by Raina Beutel, Staff Writer

Class, inclusivity and the definition of business casual came to a head after Student Senate spent over two hours debating a meeting dress code Monday.

Senators wondered during the meeting what message a dress code would send to the student body, and whether it would marginalize students from running for office or attending meetings.

Last night’s amendment was the re-addition of language regarding business casual dress that had been removed after last week’s introduction of the bill.

But Senator Joseph Cianciolo said it was worth adding back into the bylaws because it provided “one set guideline” for senators, and would “minimize distraction” during meetings.

“Being well dressed helps our inventiveness and ability to conduct ourselves,” Cianciolo said.

But the amendment brought plenty of mixed feedback among senators.

Where some viewed the dress code as hand-in-hand with the professional tone of Senate meetings, some members saw the affordability as a possible barrier for prospective senators.

Senator Colton Ashley said he prides himself on representing the average student by way of his average dress. A dress code might isolate Senate from the student body.

“There are lots of senators who believe the dress code sends a message of elitism, classism, something like we have money,” Ashley said.

Ethan Liss, a freshman communications science disorders major, said he understands that not every student has equal access to formal clothes. However, he said he sees wearing clothes that don’t match the professional setting “slightly discrediting” to a senator.

“Professional clothes should not be the main thought when looking at senator, though,” Liss said, “It’s not about what they wear, it’s about what they do on campus.”

Senator Murphy said it was “inherently classist” and had the potential of discouraging students from running.

“If you’re going to have dress code you need to plan for kids who cannot afford business casual,” Murphy said.