Hairstyle bans may seem outdated to some, but Sid Credle, dean at Hampton University’s business school, believes they are legitimate and even necessary. Credle placed a ban for the business school’s MBA program in 2001 barring students from wearing cornrows or dreads to class. Credle sees it as an effort to help them land corporate jobs.
Apparently, dreads and cornrows won’t get you hired in the corporate world. Credle offers up the school’s stats as proof that the ban has been effective. “We’ve placed more than 99 percent of the students who have graduated from this school, this program,” he said to WVEC.
But not everyone agrees the ban is fair. An incoming freshman, Uriah Bethea, who has dreadlocks, told WVEC: “I don’t think it shouldn’t matter what the hairstyle. It’s my life. I should be able to do whatever I want to do.” Instead of changing his hairstyle, he added, “I would just find another major.”
Credle and a Hampton spokesperson, Naima Ford, maintain their ban is not to deter students from the program nor police their hairstyles, but to mirror successful business professionals. “These students choose to be in this program and aspire to be leaders in the business world. We model these students after the top African-Americans in the business world,” Ford said.
Credle adds that cornrows and dreadlocks aren’t necessarily tied to our culture. “When was it that cornrows and dreadlocks were a part of African American history? I mean Charles Drew didn’t wear, Muhammad Ali didn’t wear it. Martin Luther King didn’t wear it.”