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Referenda Case

All Student Vote (Spring 2020)

Update to Academic Dress at Graduation Motion



This motion mandates the DDO to work with the University Senate and Council to amend regulations on what students can wear when graduating

This Union Notes:

 

  1. According to University Regulation 21.2: Regulations for Graduands’ Dress at Graduation Ceremonies:

(1) All graduands must wear academic dress. Men should wear a dark lounge suit, a white shirt, dark tie and black shoes. Women should wear a plain dress or suit, stockings and shoes. Members of the armed forces may wear the appropriate uniform, and members of religious orders their normal mode of dress. Graduands from overseas countries may wear national dress, if suitable.

(2) Men graduands, except those in uniform, should wear mortar-boards. Women graduands, except those in uniform, should wear either mortar-boards or Oxford caps. All graduands wearing mortar-boards should wear them when entering and leaving the ceremony, unless otherwise instructed, but not when seated during the ceremony. All graduands wearing Oxford caps should wear them throughout the ceremony.

(3) Candidates whose clothes are considered unsuitable may be excluded from the ceremony by the Marshal.[1]

  1.  The cost of hiring academic dress for Foundation or Bachelors award levels is £45. For Masters award level the cost is £51. For a Doctorate/PhD the cost is £58.[2]

 

  1. The University of Warwick is lowering some grade entry requirements to provide places to people in surrounding disadvantaged areas.[3]

 

This Union Believes:

 

  1. Students should be allowed to attend their graduation ceremony as per the smart dress code but without having to spend an additional sum of money to wear academic dress.

 

  1. It is not being suggested that graduands should categorically not wear academic dress - many students do want to - but that students are given the choice of dressing smartly without having to wear robes and mortar-boards, thus making the ceremony more affordable. This could particularly benefit students from disadvantaged areas, such as those Warwick Scholars aim to support.

 

  1. The current regulations which do not allow graduands to attend their ceremony if not wearing academic dress promote elitism as students who cannot afford to pay for robe and mortar-board hire are excluded from their ceremony. This undermines Warwick’s goal to progress socially and sustainably.

 

  1. There is no need to differentiate between genders in Regulation 21.2. Dress code in the 21st century should not be defined by gender. By not differentiating, the University shows its acceptance of non-binary people too.

 

This Union Resolves:

 

  1. That the Democracy and Development Officer works with the University Senate and Council to change Regulation 21.2 so that it reads as below, or similar:

 

“(1) All graduands must be smartly-dressed. Graduands can choose to wear academic dress. Members of the armed forces may wear the appropriate uniform, and members of religious orders their normal mode of dress. Graduands from overseas countries may wear national dress.

 

(2) All graduands wearing mortar-boards should wear them when entering and leaving the ceremony, unless otherwise instructed, but not when seated during the ceremony.

 

  1. To mandate the Democracy and Development Officer to lobby the Awards and Ceremonies Team to update the relevant university website pages to include this information.

 

  1. To mandate the Democracy and Development Officer to ensure that the relevant staff are informed in order to enact this change, for example those in the Awards and Ceremonies team, the ceremonies Marshal and the photographer.