As the word spread across campus of the new “sagging” ordinance for the city of Grambling, many Grambling State University students were outraged while others felt relief that something was being done about the often-seen attire.
“I feel attacked, like they coming for our necks,” said Telvins Black, 21, a sophomore engineering technology major from New Orleans.
Many students, like Black, are furious about the stringent fines and penalties attached to this new law.
But Dr. Stacey Duhon, vice president of Student Affairs, this is not even a problem at Grambling State University.
“We don’t think it’s a big issue on campus,” she said during a news conference. “If we see students that are sagging we will simply ask them (to) pull up their pants, and they usually do it without a question.”
Although Black doesn’t “sag” himself, he still feels threatened by the law. His attitude is that if you didn’t buy his clothes you most certainly can’t tell him how to wear them.
Many students raised questions to as what the definition of sagging is and how will the police go about enforcing it.
Falluon Roberts agrees that sagging is an issue, but doesn’t agree with the power given to the officers.
“If it’s at the officers’ discretion, I’m not feeling it,” said Roberts, 30, a computer science major from New Orleans. “It’s not clearly stated what level of sagging is against the law.”
Ordinance No. 0126012-2, section (a) says in part, “It shall be unlawful for any person in any public place or in view of the public, to be found in a state of Nudity or partial Nudity.” Section (b) states, “Wearing lingerie, teddies, see through night gowns, or under garment as outer garments, including bras, panties and underwear, shall be considered a form of partial Nudity in violation of this ordinance.”
For most students, the law is not the problem, it’s the fines attached, which many consider excessive. Under the new law, a first offense could bring a maximum fine of $150 and 15 days in jail or 24 hours of community service. A second offense can land an individual a fine of up to $250 plus 30 days in jail or 48 hours of community service. If someone gets a third offense, the fine is no more than $500 and 60 days in jail or 96 hours of community service.
“I love the idea, (sagging) is too disrespectful,” said Fetori Williams, a freshman criminal justice major from Alexandria. “If they have to pay one time they won’t to do it any more.”
Williams and her friends describe a time when they saw a cafeteria worker being disrespected by student because he refused to pull up his pants. The worker asked the student repeatedly, to pull up his pants because she didn’t want to see his undergarments. The student ignored the woman. Williams was upset when she watched the incident.
Latabia Green, 19, a freshman criminal justice major from Tulane, believes if the fines “hit them in their pockets they are going to feel that.”
Green believes that once a person get fined, that person is going to be less likely to repeat the action.
Dr. Duhon noted that the Student Handbook was updated in 2009 to include issues related to showing undergarments and sagging.
“Our policies, even though it (states) no sagging, we do not have a fine attached to it, any community service attached to it and we definitely did not have any jail time attached to it,” said Duhon. She noted the fines are coming directly from the city of Grambling, not the campus police.
Grambling has a dress code policy in the Student Handbook. According to Section 4.32, “The University still maintains the traditional notion that students (male/female) are prohibited from wearing hats, caps, sagging pants (exposing undergarments) and/or other headgear in classrooms, offices, assemblies, dining facilities, any building, or other places where hats are not expected to be worn.”
Sagging is often categorized as applying only to men, but the new law is gender neutral for those women who sag.
Colandra Johnson’s main concern is the chance of someone going to jail for up to 15 days on his or her first offense.
“I feel like (there are) more serious things to go to jail for,” said Johnson, 20, a freshman nursing major from Alexandria. “Sagging is not that extreme.”
Others believe this is a problem only because so much emphasis is being put on this issue.
“It’s so simple,” said Naje Watkins, 19, a sophomore sociology major from Rockwall, Texas. “You shouldn’t get in trouble for something like this.”
Her view is that people will become so much more aware of what they wear and how they wear it that this issue will soon disappear.
“Parents should have taught their child to dress properly,” said Jessica Williams, a sophomore accounting major for Winnfield. “You shouldn’t go anywhere with your undergarments showing.”
In Jordan Gaither’s opinion, the city of Grambling and the Grambling State University Police Department are already understaffed. He doesn’t like the idea of adding sagging and indecent exposure enforcement to their already busy schedules.
“I think this is a waste of time,” said Gaither, 21, a senior marketing major from Indianapolis. “It’s so much energy and time given to this when those resources could be used (elsewhere).”
The city of Grambling has outlawed sagging and other things deemed to be indecent.
Any person found in a state of nudity or partial nudity, or any indecent exposure of their person or undergarments
Wearing lingerie, teddies, see-through night gowns, undergarments worn as outergarments including bras, panties, and underwear, is considered patial nudity
$150 fine plus court costs and up to 15 days in jail or 24 hours of court ordered community service
$250 fine plus court costs and up to 30 days in jail or 48 hours of court ordered community service
$500 fine plus court costs and up to 30 days in jail or 96 hours of court ordered community service
Litter abatement or collection program will be most commonly assigned community service