To Enforce It Or Not to Enforce It: The Evolution of Bellarmine’s Dress Code


Camila Aguayo

Here are examples of students in and out of dress code.

Camila Aguayo

“Clothing decisions should allow for meaningful self-expression and be an accurate reflection of the expectations on a college campus but should always be conducive to a positive learning environment, reflective of our Jesuit values, and not disruptive,” states the student handbook.

With the start of a new school year comes the changes and additions to school policies, namely, the dress code. Now that Bellarmine is back to a more “proper” dress code, students have expressed their frustrations toward the policy’s inconsistency.

“What makes me the most mad is how often it’s changing…they just need to pick something at this point,” said sophomore Emily Lineberry.

Frustrated students understand that, as a Jesuit school, Bellarmine has principles to uphold, and are less mad at the clothes, than they are about the consequences that may or may not await them if they wear a “risky” outfit to school. Some students are lucky, and are able to go the whole school day without a second glance from a teacher. Others, not so much.

Social studies teacher and firm believer in following the dress code, Megan Matthew said, “I try to be consistent and hold people accountable…I would never ever intentionally demean someone. I would just point it out in the style in which I point everything out.”

Shifting from the point of view of students to the perspective of teachers, Dean of Students, Cari Harrison expresses that the dress code will never be a perfect system. It is a job for both the students and the teachers. It’s an expectation for the students to adhere to the dress code, but also for the teachers to “privately and discreetly inform the student,” as said in the Student Handbook.

Students agreed the dress code should be about compromise. “It’s not a perfect system. There will always be teachers who, and administrators and employees, that maybe are not as gentle and compassionate as other people when it comes to any policy,” admits Harrison.

The dress code will continue to change, and it is both parties’ job to respect one another, and work together to create the best learning environment possible.

Here are examples of students in and out of dress code. (Camila Aguayo)