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Interim President Grimes Addresses the Importance of the University Dress Standard


Bethune-Cookman University Student Dress Standard

The Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) Student Dress Standard is intended to ensure that students have a basic understanding of socially acceptable appearances for the B-CU educational process and to prepare them for the professional setting. Additionally, B-CU has an obligation to create a living and learning environment where all members of its community are comfortable and not offended or distracted by inappropriate dress. The B-CU Student Dress Standard is designed to provide a basic guideline for students and is not intended to infringe upon a student 's right to self-expression .

While these are general standards for the University , each College, Department , and Office is afforded the discretion to develop and enforce stricter guidelines based on unique academic and career expectations. Classroom instructors , University administrators and staff have the right to address policy violators and/or deny admission to students dressed in any of the prohibited attire. Students are also expected to adhere to the B-CU Dress Standard at University sponsored events off campus .

Students who fail to abide by the dress standard, when advised by a University official, shall be considered in violation of the dress standard and will be subject to disciplinary action per the Student Honor Code.

General Dress Standard Expectations:

The University expects students to wear attire in classrooms and offices that is respectful of themselves and the core values of this institution . Clothing, grooming , and overall personal appearance should be appropriate to academic and/or professional settings.

In general, examples of inappropriate attire include, but are not limited to, the following:

Du-rags, stocking caps, hats , sun-visors, bandannas , wrap-caps , and hoods in any University building or any formal University-sponsored event (e.g., Convocation, Honors Day, or Founder 's Day, President' s Assembly). Head covering that is illustrative of a religious conviction or preference is welcomed and acceptable . Students are required to seek approval from the Chaplaincy Department for religious affiliated attire and must take their Student ID wearing such attire;

Midriffs , cat-suits (fitted full body suits), low-cut tops, revealing mesh, netted shirts, see­ through garments, cut off t-shirts, undershirts (slang: wife beaters) (male or female) ;

Sheer or provocative garments without proper undergarments ; t-shirts bearing profane language or indecent/messages , and cutout or tom jeans that reveal undergarments and/or private parts, even in instances of squatting, bending, or reaching ;

Clothing, jewelry, or other accessories with pictures of drug paraphernalia , or with expressions that condone or sanction the use of drugs;

Clothing expressing any form of degradation based on gender, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation , or socioeconomic status;

Missing undergarments ;

Bare feet, house-shoes , or sleep wear in public or common area spaces (including residence halls) ;

Sagging pants or sagging shorts;

Hair rollers, bonnets, or wrap-caps designed for sleep.

Dress Standard Expectations for Events Requiring Business Casual Attire:

Hats are acceptable for ladies and gentlemen , provided they are not wide-brimmed or are sports caps designed or intended for outside use. Head covering that is illustrative of a religious conviction or preference is welcomed and acceptable. Men should remove any hat when entering a building, during prayer, or during the playing/singing of the national anthem or University Alma Mater.

Students in professional programs with standard uniforms (nursing, ROTC, e.g.) are permitted to wear these in lieu of standard professional dress.

Suits and/or slacks that fit appropriately , not showing any undergarments . Denim , shorts, or clothing designed for sleep are considered inappropriate for a business environment.

Blouse or shirts should preferably be button-down and fit appropriately , not showing any undergarments . Golf shirts are acceptable with appropriate slacks. T-Shirts, sleeveless shirts, hoodies , sports jerseys, or sweatshirts are considered inappropriate for a business environment.

Professional discretion must be used for shoe selection. High platforms , extremely high heels (above 4"), ornamented runway style shoes tend to appear unprofessional. Open-toed shoes are acceptable. Athletic shoes, slides, thong sandals, flip-flops, non-dress- boots designed for outdoor use (such as Timberlands or similar style), or slippers designed for sleep are inappropriate .

Dark or grey pants suits, dresses, or skirts that fit appropriately, not clinging to the body or showing any undergarments or private body parts. The length of any skirt or dress should not be shorter than the fingertips. Denim , rompers, shorts, tights, or jeggings are considered inappropriate .

Dress  Standard  Expectations  for  University  Business,  Assemblies,  Chapel, or Events requiring Professional Attire:

Suit: A well-cut skirt suit, dress, or pant suit in appropriate colors. Examples include Blue (Navy or Dark Pinstripe), Brown, Burgundy (Dark), Gray (Dark or Heather) and Black . Other colors may be worn using professional discretion. Splits should be in the back or side not exceeding 3 inches. Tight skirts, miniskirts, bodycon dresses or outfits, or extremely tight fitted clothing are unacceptable for professional environments .

Blouse/Shirt:  No graphics, low cuts, or missing buttons.

Shoes: No flip flops, slides, house shoes, thong shoes (use professional discretion), athletic shoes,unprofessional sandals, or timberland style shoes. Shoes and belts should match.

Jewelry: Conservative earrings - Studs/Post (Diamonds, Pearls, Gold or Silver) or small hoops earrings and simple necklace, ring and bracelet. Gaudy jewelry and visible body piercings (except standard lobe earring piercing s) are inappropriate for the professional environment. Also, stay away from novelty ties like cartoon characters or patterns for sports teams . Professional judgment must be used when selecting all accessories. Approved, religious or cultural jewelry is acceptable.

Black is more appropriate for evening events requiring professional attire. Bright colored suits are discouraged.

Dress Standard Expectations for Formal Events:

Understanding the dress codes defmed broadly as formal-wear helps you determine what attire is most appropriate. Evening affairs are generally more formal than day-time events.

White tie is the most formal dress code. Men wear tuxedos featuring a black jacket with tails, white bow tie and optional white vest. Women opt for floor-length evening gowns in dark colors.

Black tie calls for a black, blue, or white tuxedo jacket, matching black or blue (not white) tuxedo pants and black bow tie with an optional cummerbund or vest or dressy cocktail dresses, along with the classic floor-length evening gowns.

Tuxedos should be paired with a starched and pleated shirt. White or black bow ties are appropriate, depending on the dress code. If the event's dress code is creative black tie, a patterned bow tie, non-white shirt or patterned vest or cummerbund is appropriate. Patent leather shoes are most appropriate with a tuxedo. 

Black tie optional is a notch below black tie, meaning black tuxedos or dark suits may be worn. Cocktail dresses are the typical choice. For black tie optional events, dressy separates are another choice -- for example, pair a silk blouse with well-tailored pants and a pair of pumps .

Formal events that are not black or white tie specific require dark suits with conservative button-down  shirts and ties.  Well-cared-for  leather shoes pair well with formal outfits.

Gowns or separates depend on the formality of the occasion. Floor-length evening gowns should feature a dressy fabric, such as taffeta or satin. Choose dark colored evening gowns in hues of black , navy and gray for evening affairs. Daytime events during warm months call for lightweight but luxurious fabrics such as silk chiffon or silk crepe.

Knee-length cocktail dresses or the classic little black dress are also appropriate for formal occasions.

Office of Communications

Ursula James
Assistant Director of Communications
PH: 386-481-2975
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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship, and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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