Oddly Enough

Student expelled after row over short dress

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - In Brazil, famed for its tiny bikinis and carefree attitude, a university student has been expelled after violent protests by students outraged at the short outfit she wore on campus.

The Universidade Bandeirante (Uniban) said it had expelled the student, Geysi Villa Nova Arruda, 20, for “flagrant disrespect of ethical principles, academic dignity and morality,” in a statement published in some Sunday newspapers.

Her dress sparked student protests on October 22 in this largely Roman Catholic country.

A video showed Arruda sitting in a classroom in a mid-thigh length red dress, then six military police officers protecting her as she left the campus wearing a white jacket. A line of students stood by chanting “whore.”

Another video showed a mob stopping and kicking her car and blocking her when she tried to escape on foot.

Comments on Brazilian websites pointed out the irony of the hatred directed at Arruda by fellow students in a nation obsessed with physical beauty and said the university’s actions were unfair.

“Pure hypocrisy ... Once February and the Carnival comes round everyone will be naked and no one will find it abnormal,” said one comment posted by a reader on the O Globo news website.

Uniban said it had also suspended a number of students identified by video footage and witness accounts of taking part in the violence last month. The university’s legal advisor said Arruda had been expelled for “gestures” and “attitudes” she had manifested rather than because of her short outfits. He would not give details.

Reporting by Peter Murphy, editing by Jackie Frank