A few months back, we wrote about how a high school banned trendy haircuts for its male students. Now, a university in Manila is re-introducing its hair cut and hair color policy in one of its colleges. And the students are not happy.
Last year, the University of Santo Tomas’s Faculty of Arts and Letters implemented a policy prohibiting hair dyes for its students, but was suspended when the AB Students’ Rights and Welfare Committee launched a campaign against it. It was suspended indefinitely until a formal dialogue between the students and the administration took place. However, the dialogue kept being postponed and the hair policy was not implemented.
Suddenly, the ban was re-implemented, and Assistant Dean Nancy Tabirara reportedly ordered the security guards of the college’s building to confiscate the IDs of students who violate this rule.
According to the guard’s logbook:
Authorized by Ma’am Nancy Tabirara: Confiscate all those students I.D. who violate the UST-Policy of Good Grooming/school uniform/shoes or hair color.
The UST Policy of Good Grooming states that:
Good grooming includes the wearing of the prescribed college uniform, the authorized shoes, the ID, the male haircut and other considerations that are similar to these.
The hair policy reads, “d) Unless otherwise allowed by the administrators of the particular Faculty/College/Institute/ School for specific reasons, male students are not allowed to sport long hair. Hair should not touch the collar of the uniform. The use of hairpins, pony tails, headbands, etc. by male students is likewise not allowed.”
Those who violate this rule are asked to dye their hair black.
However, NO to UST-AB’s Haircut Policy, a Facebook page opposing this rule, states that “There is no mention of a prohibition on hair color in the handbook.”
The Facebook page also states:
On the surface, the hair policy seems to be a simple matter. But if we analyze more closely, we will see that the hair policy infringes on students’ democratic rights. The sudden strict implementation of the policy left no room for the students to air their concerns. It restricts our freedom of expression. Even the necessary information regarding this policy is being withheld from us.
The haircut policy is a manifestation of the education system’s repressive nature. Such policies may lead to even bigger mechanisms that will violate our freedom and democratic rights. This has been the case in many universities throughout the country. We believe that the University of Santo Tomas should be an example of reversing, and not following this trend.
Ultimately, if students cannot even decide on seemingly simple matters such as haircut and grooming, how will we be able to critique other problems that hound us? If we are to become critical leaders and catalysts of change, practicing that principle must start now inside our own university.
Since the rule was re-implemented, students posted pictures of themselves with the sign “Uphold freedom of expression #NoToUSTHairPolicy.” The photos below are by the Union of Journalists in the Philippines – UST.
What do you think? Are you for or against UST’s Hair Policy?