Saturday, April 07, 2007

Some hair raising perspectives on rules

Continuing on the theme of rules and regulations in the dormitory:

hObbes, comments on some very interesting minutes that he found detailing approaches to hair styles at Helderberg College in the 1970's.

I quote some of his observations. (NOTE: Read his whole blog for more interesting analysis and discussion on the issue)

At the January 11, 1973 Helderberg College staff meeting, it was voted that the following guidelines for a conservative hairstyle be presented to all college students:

a) Side-burns – well-trimmed and not lower than the ear-lobe.

b) Hair must not reach the collar, or have a bushy appearance.

c) Ears must be clear, and foreheads clean.

Further, it was voted that College students be “permitted to grow short, neat moustaches” and that students in their third or fourth year of study or who were 24 years of age or over, “be permitted to wear short neat beards.”

On August 7, 1973 at a meeting of the five member “Men’s Dress Committee” it was voted that a sketch of the “prescribed high school hair style” be provided to the College’s official barber, and that he be requested to “strictly adhere to it.” At the time both the primary school and high school were included under the label “Helderberg College”.

Less than a year later, there were still problems: a memorandum issued by the college principal to “all Department Heads” pointed out that “some students are apparently not abiding by the dress and grooming regulations of the College.” One specific problem was “Non-regulation hairstyles by men.”

By 1975, the rules had relaxed ever so slightly. College students were permitted:

a) “Well trimmed” sideburns,

b) Hair that does not “overhang the collar or have a bushy appearance,”

c) To have “Part of the ear…covered”, (What a radical step forward!)

d) “short neat moustaches”.

e) Students who were in their third or fourth year/over the age of 24, were permitted “short neat beards”.

Obviously at some stage, these rules were relaxed—the current Student Handbook (2005) makes no mention of any specific hairstyle: “Helderberg College students are expected to develop a personal philosophy of dress and grooming that exhibits simplicity and cultural refinement and eschews that which draws undue attention to oneself.” (It should be noted that considerable time is spent detailing the specifics of “modest” and “appropriate”.)


One thing is certain that the rules definitely portrays a particular cultural slant. They would be completely irrelevant on the mixed campus that now forms Helderberg. Perhaps I need to take some photos of the hairstyles on campus today and post them on the blog. (If you have some, please send them to me.)


Anonymous said...

what are the rules about ra's dating high school boys,dean?

Anonymous said...

pls reply?, about this fact which is seemingly not taken as serious as it should be!!!

Weiers said...

Hi, I think we are talking about people's personal lives and decisions here, and I am not really comfortable to discuss it in a public forum like this.

I can mention that the College is very clear about the rules that govern relationships between couples where one partner is a high school student.

All the high school rules apply. This means that the high school curfews, study hour regulations, worship regulations and also regulations concerning the physical aspects of relationships need to be adhered to.

The high school has rather strict regulations in this regard i.e.: no physical contact is allowed. (No holding of hands/ hugging / kissing / lying on top of each other in the lounge areas etc.).

Perhaps I should ask you: Is there any sense in forcing a relationship to break up if you don't like it? I pastored a church a few years ago where a mother used to come home after school to lock her children into the house (with security gates) in order to keep them away from their boyfriends. Is it possible to do this? Is this wise?

Another question: In South Africa there has historically been a law against marriages/relationships across races. Do you think that this was a good law? Was the state within its right to enact these laws?

Please come and see me if you want to discuss these concerns. I promise my door will be open to you.