On Thursday, Rutgers Business School issued a formal apology for turning away students from a career fair last Friday — due to the color of their formal attire. Reportedly, a stringent new policy forbids blue suits, colored shirts, brown shoes, and other attire at the New Jersey school’s career fairs.
“The administration at Rutgers Business School apologizes to the students who were turned away form the Feb. 10 job fair because of a dress code policy,” Dean Lei Lei, who is also an engineering professor, said in an official statement. She also announced that the school has “contacted the affected students to assist them in reconnecting with recruiters.”
Lei added that the deans of the business school are scheduled to meet with affected students next week, and that “a review of the dress code is already underway and will be revised to ensure that it does not exclude students from opportunities to meet with employers in the future.”
According to The Daily Targum, the Rutgers student paper, Tyler Farnsworth, a sophomore at the business school, said that “a majority of students prevented from entering were wearing blue shirts, blue suits or brown shoes.” Farnsworth estimated that about 40 students were turned away from the fair for dress code violations. Flyers for the event did specify black or gray suits, but the policy seems ludicrous.
“Not only does the Rutgers Business School student body deserve an apology, the ‘no navy business suit’ needs to be eliminated,” a student petition declared. As of Friday afternoon, the petition had 64 signers, short of its goal of 100. “Navy is the most popular color on Wall Streets [sic] for suits. It is very unfortunate that students were turned away from the career fair for committing the crime of being fashionable.”
According to ABC 7 News, administrators said the new dress code was meant to respond to students who did not dress properly in past years. “Senior Associate Dean Martin Markowitz says the school did not permit blue to avoid confusion with different shades.”
When contacted by PJ Media, a Rutgers spokesman sent along the apology but offered no explanation for the ban on blue suits, nor any justification for the alleged need to “avoid confusion with different shades.” It seems the real story is why this alleged confusion was a problem to begin with.