Beards without a card

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On BYU campus, beards are an elusive creature because of just one sentence in the school’s Honor Code: “Men are expected to be clean-shaven; beards are not acceptable.”  But students, male and female, now have the option to wear a beard everyday . . . as long as it’s on their shirt.

Lorne Sleem, a communications major from Manchester studying advertising , decided to remedy the lack of facial hair at BYU by creating beardcard.com. The website name plays on the BYU practice of granting a beard-growing exception for students and faculty to wear a beard through a so-called “beard card.” The exceptions are usually granted for medical reasons and for participation in theatrical productions.

The site hosts a line of T-shirts sporting beards for everyone, from “The Kling-On” for hard-core Trekkies to  “The Sparrow” for “The Pirates of the Caribbean”  lovers. There is even one memorializing BYU alum and Pittsburgh Steeler Brett “The Diesel” Keisel’s famous facial shrub. Now that there is a shirt, it is probably fitting that celebrity barbers will be shearing off Keisel’s beard for charity on Thursday.

[media-credit name=”Jamison Metzger” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Lorne Sleem, creator of www.beardcard.com, poses with one of his designed t-shirts.
Sleem, who modeled “The Darwin” T-shirt during an interview, sported a variety of beards before moving to Provo. At one point, Sleem rocked “The Rap Industry” beard in real-life, with corn-rows to complete the look. Sleem said he believes many students haven’t had an opportunity to experiment with their hair and, as a result, haven’t seen its true potential.

[pullquote]”There are kids here who can’t grow facial hair,” Sleem said. “I’ve made these shirts for them — for those who can only grow whiskers.”[/pullquote]

“There are kids here who can’t grow facial hair,” Sleem said. “I’ve made these shirts for them — for those who can only grow whiskers.”

The beard debate is not just limited to BYU. Disneyland recently changed their facial-hair policy. For the first time since the park’s opening in 1955, employees now will be allowed to grow a beard or goatee as long as it is less than a quarter-inch long. The rule was first established by Walt Disney who wanted to propel a clean image of the park.

Jared Webb, a masters mathematics student, has a beard and said he is an active beard supporter. Webb said he likes the idea of a website that sells beard T-shirts.

“I think it’s cool,” Webb said. “Beards should be encouraged in every way possible,” Webb said.

University spokesperson Carri Jenkins said she saw no conflict between the website and any university policies.

While some people have strong feelings on the matter, Sleem said he has no problem with The Honor Code’s no-beard policy (it’s good for business). Sleem said he hopes the shirts can be an item students get to remember their time here at school.

“I’m fine with the Honor Code,” Sleem said. “I think it helps us from looking like a bunch of raggamuffins.”

All 13 of the Beard Design T-shirts can be found and purchased at beardcard.com.

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