No link between dress code and a disciplined society

I, too, have noticed tertiary students attending lectures and tutorials wearing slippers, shorts and T-shirts (Implement dress code for university students, by Mr Pavithran Vidyadharan; Dec 28).

I have been one of them on occasion.

It is precisely because universities are institutes of tertiary education that there should not be a dress code for students.

At university, what is valued is individual thinking and innovation, instead of blind adherence to rules.

Asking the authorities to implement a dress code would be an overreach of authority where there is no need to do so.

There is no link between a dress code and a disciplined society.

"Stern action" to enforce a dress code would be a waste of time and resources, which could be better used in areas such as research.

Comparing university classrooms to Parliament and restaurants is also misguided, as these areas have social norms which have guided the formulation of dress codes, whereas university lectures and tutorials do not.

The onus should be on students to recognise what situations call for more formal dress, and the consequences of not doing so.

If university lecturers and tutors have issues with the way their students dress, they should be allowed to discuss this with their students and come up with a solution on their own terms.

This way, a more disciplined society can emerge - one that can solve problems through discussions instead of relying on implementing rules to solve every little issue.

Isaac Neo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2017, with the headline 'No link between dress code and a disciplined society'. Print Edition | Subscribe