Linfield professors can show off their ink in the workplace

Kellie Bowen, Staff Writer and A&E Editor

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I entered Dr. Chuck Dunn’s office while he was talking to a friend of his about how nervous he was about the trombone performance he was going to do later that afternoon. Professor Scott Ross entered his office right on time for the interview. Both professors had at least one arm covered in tattoos from wrist to shoulder.

According to statistics from conducted from the editors and a contributing writer, 12 percent of 27,000 surveyed people have visible tattoos during work, and only 4 percent have faced discrimination because of their tattoos.

The only ones who said anything negative about Dunn and Ross’ tattoos are their mothers. “I think that’s just because [my mother and mother-in-law] are comfortable with me and feel like they can tell me they don’t like them,” Dunn said.

Both Dunn and Ross said that they have never received any discrimination, but they do not expect many people would say anything mean to their face. “All the negativity is probably said behind our backs, which is unfortunate,” Dunn said. 36 percent of people in the Pacific region of the United States disapprove of tattoo.

“It’s sad that there are still people out there that essentially are against the color, or multiple colors, of your skin,” Ross said.

Ross said that he got his tattoos while he was working construction before teaching, which was perfectly acceptable, because there was no customer service, and it was, as Ross called it, a “rough and tumble” kind of job.

Dunn said the sleeve on his right arm was something he got when he already had the job security at Linfield.

“When I got the full sleeve, I was asked by the administration to give a presentation to visiting parents. I wasn’t so much worried that they were going to ask me to cover up, but i was curious if they would, because there was no other faculty who had that much visible tattoo exposure. No one said anything.”

In an interview situation, Ross said that he wouldn’t wear short sleeves, because a professional blazer would be covering them up, but he would have to tell an employer that he does have tattoos eventually.

Dunn said that all of his tattoos have meaning. The sleeve in particular is from his six-month stay at Beijing. There are Chinese symbols on the sleeve that say “peace, love, math and music.” “I also have those words in Russian on my back, because I was at the Soviet Union for a semester during college.”

Ross loves Japanese mythology, symbolism and storytelling, and is planning to get an entire body suit of tattoos. He has a particular tattoo artist in Michigan that has worked on his tattoos.

“Tattoos are becoming relevant in society, and those people who have tattoos have probably moved up in position at their work, so now they’re the boss,” Ross said.