On Thursday March 14th Wellesley announced that it would begin to enforce a dress code after Sophomore Jodie Leah caught frostbite and had to have her legs amputated.
Last Saturday Jodie and her friends attended a frat party at MIT. Jodie was reportedly wearing a bright blue mini skirt and a neon yellow tank top, despite the 20° weather and heavy snowfall. The seven friends she was with were dressed in similar attire, notably lacking any suitable form of outerwear.
When asked about her clothing decisions Jodie said, “I didn’t really care at the time. I mean, I was going to a party. Do you expect me to wear pants? That’s ridiculous. Frostbite’s something you always hear people talking about, but you never think it’ll happen to you, until it does.”
She also reported that twelve other students and four faculty members all told her she should change her outfit.
“They told me things like ‘Are you insane?’ and ‘Your legs are literally going to fall off. Put on some goddamn pants, or at least tights or something.’ I didn’t think anything would actually happen though.”
The new dress code requires that all students have something covering their bodies from the waist down, and carry at least a light jacket when temperatures are below freezing.
Many students question whether the new dress code is ethical. One student stated, “The College doesn’t have the authority to tell us what to wear. If I want to run naked through Sev Green in the middle of a snowstorm I will. Fight the power.”
Other students question how this will be enforced. The official policy is that bus drivers on the Peter Pan will make judgment calls on whether or not the students are adequately clothed. However, students can still take off layers as soon as they get off the bus.
An administrator said, “It’s an honor code thing. We won’t be there all the time to check what you’re wearing, but we expect students to hold themselves to high standards.”
Wellesley is also starting a “good Samaritan” policy, similar to the alcohol policy. “If your friend is at risk of loosing a limb due to inadequate clothing, you can call the limb-loss-hotline and a ski jacket will be delivered to you free of charge, and no one will receive disciplinary action. If the friend looses a limb or a third party calls the hotline you will have to appear before the Honor Council.”
In addition, a new non-profit student group called “Warmth for Wellesley” will walk around MIT and Harvard campuses with electric blankets to hand out to cold Wellesley students waiting for the bus.