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Male students in Hampton’s 5-year MBA program are not allowed to wear cornrows and dreadlocks to class once they enroll in the seminar course. The ban has been in place since 2001.
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Sid Credle, dean of the business school, believes the ban has been helpful in placing his students in corporate jobs, citing a 99 percent placement rate.
“What we do is pay tribute to that image and say those are your role models. This is a way you will look when you become president,” Credle added, “If you’re going to play baseball, you wear baseball uniforms. If you’re going to play tennis, your wear tennis uniform. Well you’re playing that business.”
Not everyone, of course, agrees with Credle.
“I don’t think it shouldn’t matter what the hairstyle. It’s my life. I should be able to do whatever I want to do,” said incoming freshman Uriah Bethea, who wears dreadlocks and says he wouldn’t compromise his look for a class.
“I would just find another major,” he added.
Not too far from the university, several hair stylist say that cornrows and dreadlocks can look professional. Pamela Woods says it is part of African American culture.
“That’s the first thing that mothers do to their son’s hair when their hair is long as babies,” said Woods.
Stylist Essence Neal agrees.
“It doesn’t affect the way you work how you are in school. your grades your hair has nothing to do with that,” said Neal.
Cridle does not agree with those who say the ban denies cultural aspects of the African American community and goes as far as saying that cornrows and dreadlocks have never been an exclusively Black hair style.
“I said when was it that cornrows and dreadlocks were a part of African American history?”
Credle added, “I mean Charles Drew didn’t wear, Muhammad Ali didn’t wear it. Martin Luther King didn’t wear it.”
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