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No ripped jeans or ‘ostentatious piercings’, lecturers told


Lecturers at a Birmingham college are protesting against the institution after it said they could no longer come to work in jeans or scruffy trousers.

The UCU lecturers’ union said that Birmingham Metropolitan College was acting like some kind of ‘fashion police’, after it released a dress code calling for staff to wear business suits and skirts and keep their hair tidy.

Lecturers were also asked not to have any tattoos visible, no slogans on t-shirts and no “ostentatious earrings”.  No other jewellery worn through any other piercing is allowed.

“The college is a professional and business like organisation and staff have a responsibility to uphold and promote these values in their dress and appearance,” said the guidance.

The UCU has reacted angrily. “Has diversity and the celebration of cultural differences totally passed them by?” it howled.

West Midland regional officer Nick Varney went on. “Perhaps the principal would like to expand on what she means by 'coordinating colours', 'unconventional' jewellery and 'outrageous' styles and colour of hair style.”

A college spokeswoman, quoted by the BBC, responded, explaining that the guidelines had been released 2as a result of requests from staff”.

"We deliver qualifications to over 8,000 16-19 learners and 30,000 adult learners, along with meeting the training needs of a range of businesses,” she said. “It is therefore important that our staff present a professional image and a dress code is one of the policies we have always asked them to adhere to."

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