June 18, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers Business School responds to career fair incident by setting up turned away students with recruiters

Photo by Georgette Stillman |

The Rutgers Business School faced backlash after refusing to allow an estimated 40 students into their annual career fair. They have since apologized, promised to amend their dress code and offered to make up the lost networking opportunity for students.

The Rutgers Business School continues to face some backlash after an incident where business students were turned away from the career fair for failing to meet their dress code policy.

On Feb. 10, an estimated 40 students were not permitted to enter the annual career fair on Livingston campus because they were wearing the wrong color of clothing. The Daily Targum reported that students wearing blue shirts or navy and gray suits were not allowed inside, as the event's dress code called for "dark, conservative suits."

The department immediately received criticism for their actions from students, including an online petition at change.org. The petition demanded that not only the students receive an apology, but that the "no navy business suits" policy should be eradicated altogether, claiming that navy is the most popular color for those who work on Wall Street.

The document also states that this is an attempt by the school to protect their own image.

“It is even more unfortunate that someone's ego is getting in the way of apologizing for this ridiculous policy,” the petition said. “RBS needs to recognize navy as appropriate business attire because the whole world already does.”

The petition will be sent to Dean Lei Lei and Senior Associate Dean Martin Markowitz once it reaches 100 supporters.

Erik Rasmussen, a junior in the Rutgers Business School, was actually inside the business career fair when the incident occurred. Because he was inside, he was unaware at the time that people were turned away at the front door. It was not until the end of the event that he was told a lot of people were refused entry.

“My opinion of it is that if someone is wearing a navy suit they should be able to attend an event like this,” Rasmussen said. “For example, if someone is working in a major corporation they’re likely going to be able to wear a navy suit to work so the idea of excluding the navy suit from the dress code was not well thought out. However, I feel as though the business school had the right intentions, they just did not have the right execution.”

The career fair often provides students with their first opportunities to find work in the professional field of their choosing. Louai Hassan, a Rutgers Business School junior, said it was not right to take something so important away from students for something that seems so trivial, adding that he himself has worn a navy blue suit to school career fairs in the past and was never bothered about it.

“It’s really not fair, especially to the seniors who are kind of depending on this career fair to land a job, and now it’s kind of difficult for them to find anything like this ever again,” Hassan said.

The Rutgers Business School was quick to apologize for the debacle. Lei has already publicly apologized for the incident and has stated that they will meet with the students who were turned away and review the dress code to avoid excluding students from important events.

Daniel J. Stoll, the director of communications and marketing for the Rutgers Business School, said they are working to rectify the problems in the department. 

In response to the backlash from the incident, the Offices of Career Management met with 16 students from New Brunswick and 10 students from Newark who were turned away at the Feb. 10 career fair to reconnect them with recruiters.

Stoll stressed that the department is working quickly to set up those who were denied access to the career fair with recruiters. They are also working on arranging another job fair on April 6 on Livingston campus to offer all Rutgers business students a chance to meet with a recruiter.

“(We have) changed the recommended dress to 'professional attire,'” Stoll said in an e-mail. “In addition, Rutgers Business School is working with 300+ corporate sponsors to put together an advisory board of recruiters to ensure that best practices are followed.”

Jacob Turchi is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in journalism and media studies. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

Jacob Turchi

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