The University of Sheffield does not have regulations about how students (or staff) should dress other than in very specific circumstances.

The Senate Statement on Religious Activities on Campus states that:

  1. It is recognised that some religions determine a certain mode of dress.
  2. No agreed rules exist regarding attire during study/research unless it is a requirement of the place of study/clinical attachment etc. [e.g. wearing safety clothing, dress appropriate to professional requirements].
  3. Priority must be given to health and safety requirements.
  4. Students whose attire conceals their identity must be prepared to confirm visual identity in an appropriate manner, e.g. at interview and prior to examinations. Other examples might include registration, immigration checks, degree congregations, collection of documents.
  5. Where University activities involve dealing with members of the public (such as patients while on clinical placements) it may not be considered in their best interests for students to conceal their face. Other non-clinical situations that require working with public may need to be considered on a case by case basis.

Discipline Regulation 2n also alludes to the requirement to prove visual identity by defining as misconduct “..failure to disclose name and other relevant details to an officer or employee in circumstances when it is reasonable to require that such information be given.”

There are academic situations where long loose hair, loose clothing, limited peripheral vision etc. will present safety concerns.

Introduction to such situations (laboratories, machine rooms) should clarify these issues and students will be required to adapt clothing to meet legitimate requirements. This is likely to include tying hair up/back, wearing appropriate protective clothing, securing headwear to avoid loose fabric and ensure good vision.

In clinical departments, any reasonable requirements to have parts of the body uncovered (e.g. face, arms) should be made clear from the start of the course. Where clothing is provided for students, alternatives should be provided to meet appropriate agreed requirements.

It is recognised that UK culture generally involves a reliance on facial recognition, and on conveying understanding or difficulty through facial expression; staff and students may not feel confident that communication can be effective with individuals whose faces are not visible. Guidance and advice is available to staff and to students from the Muslim Chaplain (m.ismail@sheffield.ac.uk) or colleagues in Student Services (support@sheffield.ac.uk) with responsibility for ensuring good communication being shared by the student[s] concerned and staff and students with whom they work. Staff in Student Support and Wellbeing can assist with this.