Photo: Geisy Arruda wearing the same dress that she was expelled for.
(AP/Leticia Moreira/Folha Imagem)
SAO PAULO (CBS/AP) It may sound shocking, but in the land of thong bikinis and Carnaval, 20-year-old student Geisy Arruda says she was expelled from a Brazilian university for wearing a dress that was just too darn sexy.
Bandeirante University said they booted her for flashing on campus and disrespecting "academic dignity."
Either way, the tourism student who was heckled by hundreds of fellow students when she wore a short, pink dress to class and then became a Brazilian television and Internet sensation for fighting back, has gotten a team of lawyers and threatened to sue.
And it looks as if the tactics have worked.
Bandeirante University reversed its decision to expel her following a flood of negative reaction.
The dean of the private college in suburban Sao Paulo released a statement Monday announcing the reversal, without saying why it had decided to let her back in.
Videos of students ridiculing and cursing Arruda for her short outfit turned up on the Web, and quickly made headlines across Brazil and drew attention around the world to the Oct. 22 incident.
Student even took out newspaper ads Sunday to publicly accuse her of immorality.
Arruda was forced to put on a professor's white coat to cover her short, pink dress and was escorted away by police amid a hail of insults by students, some of whom shouted "whore."
Arruda said just before Monday's decision that she was humiliated by the experience and was never warned by university officials that her dress was too racy, according to the private Agencia Estado news agency
"If a security guard or a professor had told me something I would have humbly returned home and changed my clothes," she said, accompanied by seven lawyers at a packed press conference.
In originally expelling Geisy Arruda from the university, officials said she paraded provocatively and raised the dress.
"There are hundreds of girls wearing miniskirts on this campus every day, and nothing has ever happened," Vice Dean Ellis Brown said at a news conference Tuesday. "The size of the dress was never discussed - her behavior was."
Photo: Brazilians celebrate after Rio de Janeiro wins bid to host 2016 Olympics.
(AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Her expulsion prompted complaints from the national student union and Brazil's minister in charge of women's policy, and a demand from the Education Ministry that the university explain why it had kicked her out.
The student had told reporters through one of her lawyers that she was going to sue the college so she could finish the semester.
Arruda and her lawyers could not be reached for comment on the school's reversal, but in her interview ahead of the decision she said she wanted to return to school but was also scared about going back.
"I only want to go into the classroom, sit down, study and take tests," she said.
Although Brazil is known for revealing clothing — especially in beach cities, where many bikinis are referred to locally as "dental floss" — most college students dress more modestly on campus, commonly in jeans and T-shirts.
The university published newspaper advertisements Sunday saying it expelled Arruda for disrespecting "ethical principles, academic dignity and morality."
The ads also alleged Arruda acted in a provocative manner incompatible with the university's environment.
University lawyer Decio Lencioni told Globo TV that the institution was merely following its rules.
"The problem is not her clothes," he said. "It's her behavior, her attitude."
Lencioni and the university alleged Arruda even raised her dress and stopped to pose for photos the night she wore the short dress on campus. He said she also chose the longest way to get to class to attract the attention of more students.
Arruda vehemently denied the claim, saying, "It's a big lie that I raised the dress," Agencia Estado reported.
In Sunday's ads, titled "Educational Responsibility," the college said it had previously warned Arruda to change her behavior and decided to expel her after talking to students, staff and Arruda.
"I always dressed in a way that makes me feel good and that doesn't offend anybody," Arruda said during an interview with Brazil's Globo TV. "I was always like that and was never recriminated by anybody."
Civil police in the city of Sao Bernardo do Campo outside Sao Paulo, where the university is located, said they will investigate the students accused of heckling Arruda. The university said some will be temporarily suspended.