Contention Over Cleavage in Dress Code Debate – Council Update (January 3rd, 2018)

This week’s Council meeting was headlined by continuing discussion on the controversial Dress Code Motion. However, the meeting started with a few more routine subjects. First, Junior Representative Lois Schwarz gave an update on behalf of the Student Activities Committee (SAC) in which she stated that winter carnival this year would be similar to the one from last year, and that the possibility of adding community service to the festivities would be looked at for next year. Next, the OEC Bylaw Revision Motion was brought by OEC. The motion would put the issue of Council members in Common Ground under OEC’s responsibility; however the motion was tabled until further guidelines are brought by OEC. Next on the agenda was the Dress Code Motion discussion.

To start the conversation, Council members began by discussing an amendment to the Dress Code which would add standardized language to the motion for teachers to use to tell students that they were violating the Dress Code. The proposed language read: “I feel that your attire is prohibited by our dress code.” After some discussion, the amendment to the motion passed and the aforementioned wording was added to the overall Dress Code.

Staff Representative Ms. Price then brought up the issue of lower cleavage, and expressed that she believed that it should be prohibited as it is inappropriate for school. Junior Representative Elizabeth Napier countered Ms. Price’s argument by moving to amend the motion to state that upper cleavage doesn’t have a requirement. However, staff Representative Mr. Bourne brought up the issue of defining lower and upper cleavage, saying that it was problematic to attempt to define that in the Dress Code. After much opposition from almost all of Council, both the amendment to prohibit lower cleavage and the amendment to write that upper cleavage doesn’t have a requirement failed.

Mr. Bourne then proposed striking the sentence that states that cleavage has no requirement, as he claimed that it made it seem as though the Dress Code was encouraging students to show cleavage. Assistant Moderator Jasper Meyer echoed this thought, saying that he thinks it brings unneeded attention to cleavage. After a bit more deliberation, Council voted to pass the amendment and thus strike the sentence that stated that cleavage doesn’t have a requirement.

Representative Napier then stated that she thought the Dress Code was ready to be passed and moved to close debate. However, Council voted to not close debate, making further discussion on the motion imminent.  

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