181

Does your institution have a student dress code? Does your location have public indecency laws? If their clothing violates either, refuse meetings until the problem is corrected. Otherwise, ignore their appearance and carry on as usual. Their sense of appropriate dress is clearly different from yours, but like political or religious opinions, such senses ...


150

In short, how can I tell these girls, politely, that they should think twice about showing up half naked to meetings with faculty members? I can think of 4 situations: If they are violating a university dress code, you should politely remind them of the policy. If they are not in violation of a university policy, but their appearance makes you feel ...


122

If an academic is dressed in an unusually casual manner, I generally ignore it. If an academic is dressed in an unusually formal manner, I assume one of these: They are an administrator, or manager, rather than an academic They are here for a job interview and they don't know it is not necessary to dress formally They are going to an event outside academia,...


117

Unlike my answer here, your problem does not seem to be about the clothing, but rather the disruption. Assuming the student is not breaking the university dress code, then it is not her who is disrupting the teaching environment, but other students. You have not provided examples of how the response of the other students is disrupting the teaching ...


110

The best thing you can do is the escalate the problem to your superiors, which you already did. Note that in disputes like this (when there is a bad and a worse choice, like you being accused of being either a harasser or a perv) the important thing is to let know your employer that there is a problem. That may be very important for your defense if you are ...


106

I'm a bit disappointed at the number of comments from people who say they need to know what the exact statement on this particular T-shirt was so that they can judge whether it was truly misogynistic before answering the question. The question is clear: What is the appropriate response given that a student is ``wearing clothing that is likely to be offensive ...


101

Ignore everyone here and ask your higher-ups what to do. Then do it. And get at least some of the responses in writing so that you can point back to them. I believe this is the only correct and safe way to proceed. End of story.


88

As an instructor -- or a TA, or whoever is leading a formalized academic session -- you have not only the right but some responsibility to enforce at least minimal standards of acceptable behavior. Some behavior is borderline and you do want to look to the other people in the room to see whether it is bothering them. Some behavior really isn't, e.g. ...


82

The general advice is that when you're an undergraduate student, a graduate student not yet on the job market, or when you're a tenured faculty, you can do whatever the hell you want. The problem is that you are vulnerable when you're in the position to be hired, promoted, tenured, or retained. In those cases, having just one conservative person on the ...


78

My suggestion is to do nothing and say nothing this term in order to avoid the risks others have pointed out, especially since you say you neither feel harassed nor uncomfortable. However, next term, I would suggest doing what I had a professor do: add a "Professionalism" section to your syllabus and first day procedural talk. You still have to be careful ...


73

No. Many of the top universities are tourist attractions and it is not uncommon to see tourists wandering around campus taking photos and eventually buying paraphernalia. While in the US it is not uncommon to see students wearing standard school t-shirts and sweatshirts, in the UK, students generally do not wear clothes that are available in the bookstore. ...


73

I'm somewhat surprised this hasn't been stated yet. Wearing a bikini to class is inappropriate. Period. Just as wearing shorts, sandals and nothing else would be inappropriate. The classroom is not the place for swimwear. This should have nothing to do with sexism, or with harassment (though I certainly understand why you're worried about that). It has ...


70

First, there is no rule that you need to have a picture of yourself on your professional webpage. Most people do, but there's no rule. It's nice to have some image that represents you (giving people's visual memories something to hold onto), but that could as easily be something from your research or anything, really. Second, I would not recommend posting ...


63

One of my faculty colleagues who just received tenure (at my r1 university) has worn basically the same outfit (same colored button-down shirt with khaki trousers) for the past decade - from graduate school to his current position (he may have indeed been wearing this his entire life, but we only have data for the past decade). I believe his closet only has ...


60

This is just a complicated race of mind games. There are many fields where 'dressing up' is the norm, as it gives a first impression of respectability and competence. This is also because in many fields 'dealing with people', being sociable and looking professional and respectable is an integral part of the job. In the hard sciences, on the other hand, ...


52

I'm not a prude (I hope) Being a prude is not a binary state. Their choice of clothes makes you slightly uncomfortable: you don't see them as sexual subjects but you do see them as "half naked", and you feel that there's "something amiss". So, compared to them and their peers, actually you are a little prudish. There should be no shame in admitting that to ...


45

I think this is highly field dependent, but in general overdressed is better than underdressed. In fields close to mine (math, computer science) things are quite relaxed, so no one would expect a (skirt) suit (although this would be ok) and nice trousers (usually including jeans) and shirt are most probably ok. Ragged jeans and t-shirt may not always work, ...


40

I have seen them in all in faculty job talks in our department for the last few years. I have seen messenger bags, backpacks and briefcases; some of them have been made of expensive leather and looked really classy/professional and I have even seen them made of cheap, fraying materials. Either way, it does not matter - except maybe in incredibly ...


37

First, let me place my answer in the context of American academia. I'm sure that in some other parts of the world social conventions are different. Contemporary American academia is one of the more formally progressive and tolerant subsets of western society. There are American schools which recognize a student's right not to have any gender! Although ...


35

Let me add a German perspective, biased by an interdisciplinary field of computer science where "the other discipline" is more formal than CS. In day-to-day life, students, doctorate students and post-docs are dressed as they would do in other aspects of life. Some are more dressed up, others dressed down, nothing special. But no one would appear in a suit ...


34

I can tell you that as a female grad student in Sweden in mathematics, I wore a nice pair of jeans, a (ironed!) white shirt, ballet flats, and discreet jewelry (small gold studs and a thin gold bracelet) for my interview. I got the position. I did not stand out in any way from the other interviewees or professors. In general, I would perhaps switch the ...


33

This may vary from country to country, and from culture to culture, but in the U.S., wearing a shirt with a university logo may indicate nothing more than that you root for that school's athletic program. In some places, it's very traditional, particularly on Saturdays in the fall – and it's not just alumni wearing the garb. Sometimes the entire staff of a ...


33

From going to Japan for math, engineering, and Earth sciences conferences a number of times, expect that every Japanese participant is wearing a dark suit and a more or less colorless tie. (There are very few women in science in Japan, so I don't have a lot of experience in this regard.) This includes student workers -- also in suits. You -- and all of the ...


32

It depends a lot on the event (some gatherings are more formal than others) and on your status (win a Nobel prize, and you can wear anything you damn well want), but in general, you're not really expected to wear anything fancier to an academic conference than you would for a normal day at work or in class. In practice, most people do tend to dress up a ...


32

It is conventional in many places for faculty who participate in a graduation ceremony to wear the regalia from the university where they got their degree. Some universities have more... elaborate regalia than others.(See e.g. Etiquette of wearing the wrong academic robes at graduation as a lecturer in the UK, especially this comment. And this.) Others ...


30

I did my PhD in Japan, in Sociology, and my experience at Japanese national conferences and workshops was just like the other answers described: black suits and white shirts everywhere. The only ones who deviated from the norm were senior scholars. However, after moving out of Japan, I was back for an international conference there and was surprised to see ...


30

Going against everyone else, I believe that, if the university makes any sort of claims about preparing people for the workplace, there should be some attempt to remind these students of what is (in)appropriate. Based on my experience, the students may not be deliberately being inappropriate; many seem to have no concept that what is appropriate in one ...


29

I think, at least in the UK (I couldn't be sure about other countries), this probably matters a lot less in academia than it would for a corporate job. The most important thing is probably that you feel comfortable with your choice. It's extremely unlikely that you would fail to get the job simply because of your choice of bag, but if you are feeling ...


27

As noted in the comment, the location might change our opinion of the problem, however I will make notes from my experience. When I graduated with my first degree I hired a gown as I could not see the value of owning one and knew I would study for higher degrees, and perhaps I could buy one later in my career. I received my second degree in-absentia because ...


27

This definitely depends on environment: your research field's culture, your department's culture and your university's culture. As someone that had a mohawk phase often during grad school, I can only speak from my time in my PhD program in mathematics (in the USA). In my experience, I would cut it off before any conference, any research visit, and the job ...


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