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Security officers to monitor campus Halloween party for cultural appropriation

(AP Photo/Beth Hall)

College students in Toronto will have to pass a political correctness inspection check if they want to attend their university’s Halloween party this year.

“Security officers will pre-screen costumes prior to the school’s upcoming Halloween party,” an event website for the Humber and Guelph-Humber College party states.

The student association representing Humber and Guelph-Humber college students posted a list of rules online which read:

CULTURE IS NOT A COSTUME. Regardless of how well-intentioned your costume may be, it can still perpetuate harmful stereotypes and stigmas. Cultural costumes will not be permitted into the event; this is a zero-tolerance policy.

Costumes/cosplay may not include any weapons (real of [sic] fake) or props that could be perceived as threatening and the costume should not violate the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Props and accessories that may in any way be deemed offensive or resemble weapons will not be permitted into the event and will be confiscated.

Any prop or item not covered in this policy must be inspected by IGNITE staff or security at the event entrance; these items will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Masks will not be permitted while consuming alcohol.

IGNITE makes sure to tell students that the Toronto police and paramedics will be on-site to assist campus staff, if necessary. The student association hosts other annual events such as the Guelph-Humber Winter Formal. The website also includes two trigger warnings about the event featuring strobe lights and loud noises.

Students at the University of Toronto are also getting a taste of the Halloween-PC policing. According to a CBS News report, U of T will promote a “social media campaign during the week leading up to Halloween that addresses not only what costumes should be avoided, but why.”

“I think when going into these conversations … one thing that’s missing from a lot of this discourse is the emphasis on empathy,” said Chimwe Alao, the vice president of equity with the U of T Students’ Union. 

Back in the states, American students are getting their own dose of Halloween do’s and don’ts.

Washington State University held a “We’re a Culture, not a Costume” lecture for student groups on campus and the Ohio State University’s student-run magazine published a guide for students to determine if their Halloween costume may be racist or offensive to other students. Later this month, students at Princeton will engage in a dialogue about the impact of cultural appropriation, Halloween, and why culture is not a costume during a Center for Equality & Cultural Understanding event called “Conversation Circles: Cultural Appropriation and Halloween.”


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