HAMPTON--Hampton University's business school dean is standing by a controversial ban on dreadlocks and cornrows for some students.
Male students enrolled in the school's 5-year MBA program who take the seminar class cannot wear dreadlocks or cornrows in class.<
The ban, which began in 2001, has been controversial over the years.
"I don't think it shouldn't matter what the hairstyle. It's my life. I should be able to do whatever I want to do," said incoming freshman Uriah Bethea, who wears dreadlocks and says he wouldn't compromise his look for a class.
"I would just find another major," he added.
Business School Dean Sid Credle believes the ban has been effective in helping his students land corporate jobs.
"We've been very successful. We've placed more than 99 percent of the students who have graduated from this school, this program," said Credle.
"These students choose to be in this program and aspire to be leaders in the business world. We model these students after the top African-Americans in the business world," said HU spokesperson Naima Ford.
Credle said it's important for students to look the part when looking for a job.
"What we do is pay tribute to that image and say those are your role models. This is a way you will look when you become president," Credle added, "If you're going to play baseball, you wear baseball uniforms. If you're going to play tennis, your wear tennis uniform. Well you're playing that business."
Pat Woods owns a braiding salon called Just Braids in Newport News and says cornrows and dreadlocks can be a professional and natural look.
"That's the first thing that mothers do to their son's hair when their hair is long as babies," said Woods.
Stylist Essence Neal agrees.
"It doesn't affect the way you work how you are in school. your grades your hair has nothing to do with that," said Neal.
"I said when was it that cornrows and dreadlocks were a part of African American history?"
Credle added, "I mean Charles drew didn't wear, Muhammad Ali didn't wear it. martin Luther kind didn't wear it."