Melona Clarke claims that she had to prove that she was a Muslim in order to receive her University ID to register as a student at Hampton University in Virginia. “I went to go get my ID in the police office, and I was in the front of the line and I was told that I would not be able to get my ID because I wear a hijab,” said Clarke.
Hampton is a predominantly black university located in Hampton, Virginia. It was founded in 1868 after the Civil War in order to provide education to freedmen, although in 1878 it also began educating Native Americans. It is a private university and has a dress code that states that “caps and hoods for women” are not allowed. The school provides an exception for headgear that is considered a part of cultural or religious dress.
Clarke was asked to get a letter from her Mosque and the school chaplain in order to qualify for the exception. She carries her papers with her around campus in order to prove her identity as a student. Students don’t agree with the policy, however the university is private and has the right to freely associate as well as institute reasonable dress codes. Private Universities come under less scrutiny for discrimination practices than do public schools, which are regulated by non-discrimination codes.