Uproar After Strathmore University Turns Away Guest Over Dress Code [VIDEO]

The session related to the series was held at Strathmore University, Policy Innovation centre featuring key opinion formers in government

Uproar After Strathmore University Turns Away Guest Over Dress Code [VIDEO]
An image of Strathmore University. /FILE

Strathmore University was put on the spot over its strict dress code after a famous TikTok user revealed in an explosive rant how she was blocked from accessing the premises over her attire.

In a video seen by Viral Tea, the user known popularly as Swiry Nyar Kano revealed that she was to attend a panel discussion revolving around #TikTokForPeace in Kenya ahead of the August 9 general elections.

The session related to the series was held at Strathmore University, Policy Innovation centre featuring key opinion formers in government, civil society and academia, to focus on tolerance, building bridges and active citizenship.

Kano attached a copy of the invite to her video statement while revealing that there was no mention of the dress code written on it.

Watch the video:

With that in mind, she showed up at the university wearing a dress she made by herself as part of showcasing her work to events for marketing purposes in terms of her brand.

However, when Kano showed up at the gate, she was met with rudeness and embarrassment from a female member of the “fashion police” who summoned her male counterparts to confront her in front of students.

"This was the invite I was sent and as you can see, there is no indication of dress code because TikTok has no dress code. As the fashion designer that I am, I made myself this outfit to use for the event," she said, showcasing the outfit which was a mixture of maroon colours.

"But when I got to Strathmore, I was met by rude, aggressive embarrassment from the gate when the female gatekeeper saw me. They called their male counterparts to come and shout at me in front of students that I need to turn back because I'm not dressed appropriately for the university."

While noting that the invitation for the discussion was a paid job, Kano begged the fashion police to let her in to simply do her job and go home, confessing that she was not made aware of the dress code. However, they ignored her pleas and told her to leave the university compound.

She then tore into the university for barring her to access the premises over her attire which she revealed was traced back to African traditional customs.

"Someone tell Strathmore that they should be ashamed of themselves. Why have you established a university in Africa only to uphold colonial legacies? 

"Do you mean to tell me that the modern ancient African societies that still uphold the ancient African way of living like the Maasai tribe are not welcome to the university? What dress code when all I see your students wearing are the coloniser's costumes thinking you are upholding morality in Africa?" she posed.

She accused the university of imposing Western customs and discriminating against African traditions while the university is located on African territory.

Strathmore Dress Code Pros and Cons

Kano later took to her Instagram to reveal that the university had reached out to her, urging her to delete the video from her accounts, which she did. However, her video rant was picked up by a netizen named Nomadic Dothraki who shared it on Twitter, triggering not just an uproar but a number of exposes from students of the university as well as alumni.

"When I was doing my Masters, I had to pack an extra outfit on days I had class. So I’d go to work, and after work I would change to my Strathmore uniform. Once I was turned away because I had ngomas," Cherotich Tanui wrote.

"The dress that lady made to go make a speech at Strathmore wasn’t even scandalous."
"Strathmore University dress code is straight trash. Utter nonsense. Totally pointless. Big nonsense." read other comments online.

Some however opined that the institution has its own rules and as such, attending the university meant agreeing to their dress code policies. 

"If you go to Strathmore, it means you agree with their dress code. Nobody forces one to join there. If you don't, do not go there. Sisi while in MMUST, people could walk naked and nobody cared. If you want to dress like a follower of Dr Owuor, go to Strathmore peacefully!" wrote Juma G.

According to the university, a first impression is a lasting impression and how one dresses is key in ensuring a conducive environment for study and work for the entire community. Further, it also assists in preparing students for their future workspaces and creates a standard that all can adhere to.

Strathmore University's fashion-trained personnel dubbed "fashion cops". /STRATHMORE.EDU

"Many times, some of us have been stopped by the fashion cops five minutes to a class or to an exam. To make it worse, one generally doesn’t carry a change of clothes and one then has to take the long trip back home. The phrase “excuse me” from a fashion cop can scare the wits out of any Stratizen as they quickly scan your dressing," it explains on its official website.

The name "fashion cop" was derived from a feature on dressing and fashion by a local newspaper (the Pulse) and the group consisting of six members has stuck with it since. Other than enforcing the university dress code across campus, the group offers basic first aid skills during emergencies, supports students through the mentoring department and guides visitors.

Receiving positive feedback motivates them to work every day, giving an example of when students go for their work-based learning during their third year.

"Upon their return, they usually congratulate us on our work and how they had an easy time acclimatizing to the working environment. This is also witnessed when students graduate. Somehow many appreciate the lessons post-university life. People also associate Strathmore University with well-groomed individuals which makes it stand out among its peers," they stated.

Among their challenges is dealing with young adults who resist or claim to be ignorant of the dress code. Some of the rules include:

  1. No funny hairstyles are allowed on campus. Men are not allowed to keep shaggy hairs, funny dirty locks and afro hair-style. Ladies are also prohibited from dying their hair. 
  2. Ladies are not allowed to wear tights, exposing jeans, short dresses and name them. All dresses should go beyond the knees before one is allowed into the campus.
  3. Unlike public universities where ladies put on mini-skirts with sleeveless exposing tops, such ladies are barred at Strathmore. They are turned away at the gate if they don't meet set standards monitored by the fashion cops.
  4. Hugging with the opposite sex is also prohibited but same-sex can hug not for so long beyond five seconds with suggestive touches.

The policies set the institution apart from the rest of them across the country whose conduct and dress code rules are relaxed.