Skirting the issue: Ave Maria changes stance on pants for women employees

Are pants or slacks considered professional attire for women?

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New Ave Maria University employee dress code requires women to wear skirts

No pants allowed for female Ave Maria ...

Ave Maria University

5050 Ave Maria Blvd, Ave Maria, FL

— Pants are back in style for female employees of Ave Maria University.

A week after announcing a new dress code that forbid pants suits for female employees, the university has changed it’s position.

“While we stand by our policy regarding the need for all employees to maintain a professional appearance, we have accepted the recommendation that professional attire for women will not be limited to skirts and dresses,” the administration said in a statement prepared for the media.

The previous dress code, e-mailed to faculty and staff on March 4, banned pantsuits and slacks for female employees during work hours, unless traveling. Male staff members were required to wear suits, and male faculty were required to wear at least a jacket and tie, with suits preferred.

“Clearly the preference is for suits, but obviously I think what we wanted to make sure is that people understand what we’re looking for is professional attire,” said Forrest Wallace, director of marketing. “The men will still be asked to wear ties. It’s the same kind of dress code that I think most businesses would have.”

The university’s human relations department received “a good number of e-mails” after announcing the new policy, and after evaluating the comments, changed the code, Wallace said. The comments came from both men and women, some in favor of the new dress code and others against it.

“We got feedback ... and I think we needed to make the change,” he said. “The goal really is for people to come to the university and to see people looking, acting and behaving in a highly professional manner.”

The university’s statement, in full:

Response to Media

Provided March 11, 2010

After the recent announcement of the university’s dress code policy, we received a variety of feedback. In turn, we asked the university’s faculty and staff to provide their feedback to the human resources department; we have received and evaluated their comments. While we stand by our policy regarding the need for all employees to maintain a professional appearance, we have accepted the recommendation that professional attire for women will not be limited to skirts and dresses.

We appreciate the respectful manner in which many of our faculty and staff submitted feedback to the human resources department and a modified dress code policy will be provided in the near future.

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