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HBCU Students Dressing for Success

Weary of seeing young men roll into class wearing do-rags, pajama bottoms or sagging pants, North Carolina Central University student body president Kent Williams Jr. resolved to address the issue on campus after seeing then-presidential candidate Barack Obama on MTV. Obama said in November, “brothers should pull up their pants.” While some students had already begun to stay away from such fashion faux pas before Obama’s candidacy, many say that the president’s example has made it easier to persuade students to dress for success.

“We’re looking to him for guidance,” says Williams, whose university has begun to distribute information cards that he proposed to illustrate a more professional way to dress. Williams got the idea from Winston-Salem State University, where attire improved after disbursing fashion cards last year.

LaMonica Singleton, assistant director of career services and cooperative education at WSSU, notes, “Rather than beat them over the heads, we let the cards emphasize professional attire — and students have responded.”

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