In what appears to be a misguided attempt to steal a march on the government's plans to deploy science and technology to fight crime and terrorism, Imperial College (IC) has banned staff and students from wearing hoodies and hijabs on campus.
The new dress code, which The Guardian reports was approved at the beginning of November, reads:
"Clothing that obscures an individual's face is not allowed on any of the college's campuses. Employees and students should refrain from wearing clothing which obscures the face, such as a full or half veil, or hooded tops or scarves worn across the face."
Unsurprisingly, the students are a little unhappy that the trusted hoodie is off limits. They plan to amend the code through a students union vote, to allow the hoodies and all forms of religious dress.
Sarah Khatib, deputy president of the students union, said that the student body understands that the college authorities want to be able to identify people, but argues "Students should not to have to seek permission to wear any religious item... We're trying to find a middle way.
"People have happily accepted the fact that there is increased security and they have to wear their swipe cards. But they aren't happy about the hoodies," she told the Guardian's Education section.
Apparently the students are also concerned that the ban could compromise sales of IC belogo'd sweatshirts in the students union shop.
However, we think it more likely that the college authorities, fully cognisant of the naturally rebellious tendencies of the average 19 year-old, has introduced the ban as a cunning marketing ploy to drive sales of just such items. ®