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4.1.4 Dress Codes

Illinois State University values freedom of expression as a core principle of the University and, as such, there is no University-wide dress code. However, the University recognizes that standards of grooming and dress for students participating in athletic events or in performances, or related to professionalism, health/safety, and compliance, may be appropriate/required in certain specific circumstances.  For this reason, faculty may set appropriate student dress code standards for classroom/learning spaces and experiences.

Any faculty that sets a student dress code standard should ensure that the student dress code is rational and fair, and that the standards do not violate University Policy, practice, and/or guidelines, including but not limited to: student rights articulated in Article I.1 Bill of Rights of the Student Government Association Constitution, 3.3.12A (6) Faculty Responsibilities to Students, and/or the 1.2 University Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy. For instance, student dress codes must not be discriminatory, or impact groups differently based on protected classes (gender, race, ethnicity, religion, etc.).

  1. Dress codes for Health/Safety. Standards in this area are often related to specific protocols relating to hazardous material and/or equipment that can be found in, but are not limited to, science, chemistry or health-care labs, health care facilities, athletic facilities, food service facilities, or construction sites. These standards can be legally mandated (e.g., OSHA) or industry best practice. Full compliance for participants in these spaces is required. These dress codes should be reviewed and updated according to the most recent legal guidelines, industry best practices, and health/safety standards.
  2. Dress codes for Community and Performative Norms. Standards in this area are often related to external practices or policies from outside entities for internships or clinicals such as K-12 schools, health-care clinics, theatrical and musical performances, and professional presentations. Full compliance for participants is typically required by contractual agreement with the entity. External standards and consequences for non-compliance should be clearly communicated (e.g., in student teaching agreements, internship agreements, or student handbooks).
  3. Dress codes for Classroom-Based Professionalism. Following all University policies and with attention to outlined rights, faculty may, upon unit/departmental approval, establish a student dress code for any type of course environment:
    1. Student dress codes should be developed in fair and open consultation with all affected groups and with consideration to affordability.
    2. Student dress codes must be relevant to course-specific academic performance and specifically tailored to the individual course, lab, clinical experience, or performance to which they apply and to their departmentally approved course learning objectives. Student dress codes must be reflective of national standards common to the discipline.
    3. Student dress codes developed for a course shall not be of general applicability.
    4. Any grading must be in line with University Policy 4.1.6 Grading Practice.
    5. Student dress code standards related to academic courses must be outlined in the syllabus along with a process for appeals, with a final appeal to the Provost.


The University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to University academic programs, services, and facilities in accordance with applicable federal and state regulations.

The University has designated Student Access and Accommodation Services to handle any student accommodation requests. Procedures can be found at https://studentaccess.illinoisstate.edu/ or by contacting AbleISU@IllinoisState.edu or at (309) 438-5853.


Any discipline/recommendation for corrective action for non-compliance will follow the standard process within the area for review and shall have an opportunity for appeal (i.e., Code of Student Conduct for health/safety or compliance issues, standard procedures for student teaching appeals, etc.).


Student Dress Code Standards/Policies should be reviewed at least once every five years at the unit/departmental level so that they are in line with current policies, laws and regulations, and/or University initiatives (e.g., diversity, international recruiting, costs to students). Employees/Faculty within the unit/department or any other appropriate body can also issue a call for a review, revision or repeal of the policy at any time within the five year-period.

Initiating body: Academic Senate

Contact: Academic Senate (309-438-8735)

Reviewed on: 10/2020

Previously revised on: 03/2013

2020-10-27T12:15:34.695-05:00 2020