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Graduations delayed as women told to cover up

At one single graduation ceremony, ten women were turned away for not wearing socks

Students have been warned that a failure to follow official sub fusc regulation could lead to “serious inconveniences” and delays.

The reminder comes after some attempted to graduate with what University Proctors considered excessive “flesh” on show, among other infringements on the University’s graduation dress-code.

The email sent to students cited a number of infractions including bare legs or no socks or tights, non-dark footwear, and coloured clothing. 

At this year’s ceremony, some women wearing high-heeled shoes without socks were barred entry to the ceremony until they covered up.

French graduate Eleanor Broome’s ceremony was delayed by fifteen minutes as she “had to run, in full sub fusc and gown, through the crowded streets round the Sheldonian in a desperate search for black socks.”

After eventually finding a pair of tights to wear under her trousers, she was allowed entry to her graduation. 

She told the Telegraph that she thought the regulations to be “so outdated” for not considering women wearing trousers and heels.

She said: “It was a boiling hot July, I didn’t want to wear covered lace up shoes and black socks.

“I did really love my degree and I loved my time at Oxford, but what should have been the happiest day of my life turned into the angriest day of my life.”

On her Facebook page she shared what she called a “provocative photo of my exposed ankles.”

She told Cherwell: “It’s mad [the university] takes it so seriously and won’t allow people to do exams or graduate.”

She added that she has never seen a male student be “told off”.

She also referred to an incident in her Finals during which a female student was threatened with being barred from re-entering the exam room after leaving to go to the toilets without her gown.

Broome told Cherwell: “When we were doing finals, one girl came in, sat down, took off her gown, got up to go to the loo and then when she came back, the exam invigilator said, ‘By rights I don’t have to allow you back in because you are not wearing your gown.'”

In response to her own situation, Broome thanked her friend for who “literally risked not graduating because she wanted to make sure I found some socks” and her mother for “putting up with me in spite of my ankle exposing tendencies.”

Rebecca Morton also had difficulty attending her graduation ceremony as she too was “showing flesh”, according to University officials.

She told the Telegraph that she also saw sexism in the University’s dress code regulations saying they are “designed for a default male student.”

“It is one of the many ways in which the University continues to adhere to a set of archaic regulations that are coded for men.”

In response to these complaints, a spokesperson for the University said: “The note went out to College Deans of Degrees at the start of summer as a reminder of the dress code for degree ceremonies.

“The note was intended to avoid delays to ceremonies, as a courtesy to everyone attending. 

“We are not aware of any significant delays as a result this year.”

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