Brazil College Backs Down on Mini-Dress Expulsion

By: Tales Azzoni - AP Writer
By: Tales Azzoni - AP Writer

A Brazilian woman whose short, pink dress caused a near riot at a private college and led to her expulsion will be allowed to return to class.

The private Bandeirante University backed down Monday on its
decision to expel 20-year-old Geisy Arruda following a flood of
negative reaction in a nation where skimpy attire is common. Videos
of students ridiculing her and making catcalls Oct. 22 made her an
Internet sensation.

Just hours after the Brazilian government sought an explanation
from the university, its dean released a note saying he was
reversing the school's decision to expel Arruda.

The Education Ministry had given the university 10 days to
clarify its reasoning for kicking out Arruda, who had to put on a
professor's white coat and was escorted away by police amid a hail
of insults and curses from other students.

A video of the incident was posted on YouTube and quickly made
headlines across Brazil. The university's decision to expel the
student Sunday prompted complaints from the national student union
and the country's minister in charge of women's policy, among
others.

Sao Paulo state prosecutors had said they would investigate what
led to the university's decision to expel Arruda, and the student
later told reporters through her lawyer that she was going to sue
the teaching institution in hopes she could finish the semester
there.

The dean's note gave no reasons for why the decision was being
overturned.

Arruda and her lawyer could not be reached immediately for
comment on the school's reversal.

Although Brazil is known for revealing clothing - especially in
beach cities, where many bikinis are referred to locally as
"dental floss" - most college students dress more modestly on
campus, commonly in jeans and T-shirts.

The university published newspaper advertisements Sunday saying
it expelled Arruda for disrespecting "ethical principles, academic
dignity and morality."

The ads also alleged Arruda acted in a provocative manner
incompatible with the university environment.

University lawyer Decio Lencioni told Globo TV that the
institution was only following its rules.

"The problem is not her clothes; it's her behavior, her
attitude," he said.

Lencioni and the university said Arruda even raised her dress
and stopped to pose for photos the night she wore the short dress
on campus. He said she also chose the longest way to get to class
to attract the attention of more students.

In Sunday's ads, titled "Educational Responsibility," the
college said it had previously warned Arruda to change her behavior
and decided to expel her after talking to students, staff and
Arruda herself.

Arruda, who was studying tourism, said she was disheartened by
the decision.

"It's a great injustice," she told Globo TV. "I always
dressed in a way that makes me feel good and that doesn't offend
anybody. I was always like that and was never recriminated by
anybody."

Civil police in the city of Sao Bernardo do Campo, where the
university is located, said they will investigate the students
accused of heckling Arruda. The university said it would
temporarily suspend some of them.

Brazil's national student union, the Brazilian BAR Association,
and several other institutions condemned Arruda's expulsion.
Brazil's minister for women's policy, Nilcea Freire, told the
official Agencia Brasil news service Sunday that the decision
showed "intolerance and discrimination."


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