Professors’ thoughts on wearing sweatpants to class

This burger made from the garden begins with a pretzel roll, beef patty and goat cheese. It features crisp spinach, tomato, caramelized onion, tomato vinaigrette, basil pesto and vinegar relish.

Katie Nix

As winter rapidly approaches, as it often does in Northeast Ohio, more and more students, especially girls, are falling into the habit of wearing sweatpants or yoga pants to class — and professors are noticing.

“In one word, I think it’s ridiculous,” said William Kalkhoff, associate professor in sociology. “When I was in school, everyone just wore reasonably respectable clothes to class. Now that norm is disappearing.”

In high school, students are used to structure: wake up, go to school, learn, go to after-school activities or home, do homework, eat dinner and go to bed, then repeat.

However, when most students get to college that structure falls away, and they discover a new-found freedom of lazing around from class to class.

“Although I have never really articulated my thought on the subject, I guess I do feel that students coming to class in that sort of very casual attire projects an attitude of informality that may not be appropriate for the classroom,” said English lecturer Sara Cutting.


new TWTR.Widget({

version: 2,

type: ‘search’,

search: ‘#KWsweatpants’,

interval: 6000,

subject: ”,

width: 240,

height: 300,

theme: {

shell: {

background: ‘#b8b8b8’,

color: ‘#66a9c5’


tweets: {

background: ‘#b8b8b8’,

color: ‘#444444’,

links: ‘#1985b5’



features: {

scrollbar: true,

loop: true,

live: true,

hashtags: true,

timestamp: true,

avatars: true,

toptweets: true,

behavior: ‘default’



Emily Schwarz, freshman exploratory major, said she thinks sweatpants are just the more comfortable option now that the weather has taken a turn for the worse.

“In my opinion they are way more comfortable than jeans,” Schwarz said. “If I am late for class or just not into jeans that day it’s just easier to wear those. It’s nothing more than that.”

However, some professors think the trend is part of a bigger problem than students wearing inappropriate clothing to class.

Kalkhoff believes that while the majority of students attend university for the intention of learning, there is a small set of students that make it difficult for that majority.

“They check Facebook, send text messages throughout class and on rare occasions, even answer their phones, show up in pajamas, come and go as they please and just generally act as if the classroom is an addition to their dorm rooms, apartments or homes,” he said. “I even had a student once who wanted to be able to knit for the duration of each class.”

He said there isn’t a definite solution to the problem, though.

“We need to work harder and more cooperatively on all levels to change the culture if we’d prefer not to avoid the day when it’s okay for people to stroll into class in their bathrobes and cook breakfast at their desks,” Kalkhoff said.

Contact Katie Nix at [email protected].