Hampton University freshmen were apparently welcomed to campus this week with an unusual message: do not twerk.
As Hampton students are in the midst of New Student Orientation, multiple photos posted on social media websites show a slideshow presentation from the school's Center for Information Technology with three distinct "takeaways":
Hampton Ladies Do Not Twerk!!!
Hampton Men Do Not Take Twerkers Home To Mother
Employers Do Not Discriminate Between Twerkers And Twerkees
According to MediaTakeOut.com, Hampton has banned the dance from the school's campus and will seek disciplinary action against anyone caught twerking.
" Multiple sources confirmed that [Hampton] gave a lecture to entering Freshman about the 'Dangers Of Twerking.' During the lecture they said that students who were caught twerking (presumably on Instagram) could face school penalty," they report.
In a statement to Business Insider, a Hampton spokesperson denied that the university had banned the sexy dance move, and said the word was only used "to get students' attention" in a presentation on sharing infomation and photos on social media. Here's the statement from the university:
There is a picture of a slide circulating on social media sites that was a part on a presentation to Hampton University freshmen. The slide has been taken out of context. The presentation was on social media and cyber bullying and was titled "Sharing Your World Technologically." The presenter was cautioning students about posting information and or pictures, that would tarnish their brand, on social media sites. The slide referenced "twerking" because of recent events and to get students' attention. There was no statement about banning any form of dance or expression.
One Hampton alumnus defended the school, writing in a column on theGrio :
[T]he presenter at Hampton University (which happens to be my undergraduate alma mater, so I speak from experience) is using humor and colloquialisms to do one of the most important things to be accomplished in a student’s first week at college: connect. This is especially important at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) where low teacher-student ratios and close-knit campus environments remain two of the strongest points of their appeal.
The pop culture reference to twerking was an attempt at connection with the students – a technique that has proven benefits on retention and graduation.
More importantly, the university was attempting to provide the sort of life education that HBCUs take pride in offering. At their founding, these schools were deliberate in their mission to provide an education for black students that they had been denied elsewhere. This education extended beyond mathematics and liberal arts. It also included practical skills like specialized trades and business acumen, along with normative behavior instruction like social etiquette and grooming.
This special mission has evolved into advice to students on proper dress and acceptable behavior in certain environs that will make them competitive in the national economy, instead of just in the agricultural localities that most blacks once lived in.
Twerking gained notoriety this week following Miley Cyrus' performance Sunday at the Video Music Awards and the term's inclusion in the newest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.
This post has been updated with a statement from Hampton University.
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