Colleges Gear Up For Halloween With Warnings And ‘Cultural Appropriation’ Workshops


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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Colleges are getting ready for Halloween by administering warnings about how students should dress for the holiday.

The Center for Student Diversity at Towson University in Maryland, for example, posted a “we’re a culture, not a costume” reminder to students.

“Halloween costumes that are based on ethnic, racial, religious, gender, ability, and other cultural stereotypes are hurtful and reduce people’s identities into caricatures,” The Center for Student Diversity posted on Facebook this month. “Your intent may be far different than the impact: what you might want to wear for one night of fun is a stigma that others wear for life.”

Six pictures are posted with the message, including one of a female in a burka and another with a Mexican man. The pictures are paired with an example of an inappropriate costume based on that identity.

Other higher education institutions across the country are promoting similar Halloween messages.

Humboldt State University in California is hosting an “cultural appreciation vs. cultural appropriation” workshop on Oct. 30.

“With Halloween comes costumes,” workshop organizers wrote on Humboldt’s MultiCultural Center’s website. “Sadly, cultures are disregarded, mocked, or simply dehumanized.”

The State University of New York (SUNY) Polytechnic Institute invited faculty, staff, and students to discuss cultural appropriation in an event on Oct. 24. The University of Albany, SUNY also will host a similar event on Oct. 26.

We’re going to use real life examples so that students see that while you can still dress up at Halloween, there is the question of where does it cross the line into treating someone’s culture as a costume,” Steve Ference, a spokesman for SUNY Polytechnic Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Our goal is to create an entry point into the conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion. It puts what can be a controversial topic into a real world context and explains why diversity is important in a campus community.”

Duke University will host a “Chicken Wings & Cultural Appropriation” workshop on Oct. 26. Event participants will discuss how to dress appropriately at Halloween.

Representatives at Humboldt, Duke, and Towson did not return TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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