HU student poses to display the outfits that prohibited her from attending the career fair. Photography by: Lauren Legette
LAUREN LEGETTE – Tis the season to be looking for jobs and if that isn’t stressful enough, the recent Career Fair held in the student center sure did do the trick. Students across campus were eager to learn about the different companies (all of which were a surprise until the day of the actual fair) and to get their resumes circling. But the day’s loud buzz of networking was replaced by a soft whisper of a few students visiting the companies.
What was the reason for lack of attendance? A very strict, stern, and abrasive rule of attire mandating students to only be dressed in black suits, white-collared shirts, skin-toned panty hose for the ladies complete with pumps, and the appropriate tie and dress-shoes for men.
Now, as a senior at this university and a student leader, I am no stranger to business professional attire. And to the credit of the Career Center, they did specify in their e-mails: Business Professional Attire (Dark suits, white blouse or shirt, black shoes) NO SWEAT SUITS, JEANS, T-SHIRTS, SNEAKERS, LEGGINGS OR FISHNET HOSE!
But that doesn’t explain why students in dark blue suits were getting turned away, or why ladies with black stockings were sent back to their rooms. Don’t believe me? I’ve got pictures to prove it! Junior Andrew ‘Audio’ Ngyuen says one administrator “physically took off my jacket to make sure I was properly dressed. I could have done that myself.” Juniors Lisa and Lindsey Brown described the experience as ‘ridiculous’ as they were turned away from the fair for wearing black flat shoes. “If they cared about students getting jobs, they wouldn’t let something so minor as a shoe keep me from an opportunity. It all seemed very petty.” Some students, found themselves having to sneak in the side door of the Career Fair, just to get an opportunity at getting a job! And for the ones who didn’t sneak in, it’s very unlikely that they had time to return to their apartment on Mercury Boulevard, change, and return to the ballroom for the 5-hour long fair while still having time to attend classes.
And if that wasn’t alarming enough, one of the company presenters was mistaken for a student by a Hampton University administrator and told to leave the event because she was not in “proper attire”. After affirming her identity and stating that she was representing a company, our beloved administrator told the woman “Well you better put on your identification somewhere so I can see it.”
This presenter said that she would have “enjoyed the opportunity to see each student’s personality, instead of everyone wearing the same thing. A different colored blouse would have still been appropriate.”
One administrator told a student “We have to teach you guys some time, some kind of way”. Senior Aurika Whitaker felt that the comment was very pedantic in tone. “We all appreciate the experience of understanding the standards of professionalism,” Whitaker says, “but to infantile the students seems unnecessary and deprecating to our own personal development.”
Administration, please hear this plea not as a condemnation but as constructive criticism. Our desire is to always represent Hampton well and the career fair was no different. Now, we’ve all learned that for the next career fair, anything short of a BLACK suit, with a WHITE blouse, SKIN TONE panty hose, and black HEELS or dress shoes will not be tolerated…smh