Certain Halloween costumes related to race, religion or culture are often deemed offensive. Now, the University of Florida is offering counseling to students who have been troubled by such costumes.
The university sent out a memo to students urging them to make appropriate costume choices for the upcoming holiday. It has also asked students to report incidents of bias to the university’s support team.
“Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions. Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people,” the university said in the memo earlier this week. “Also, keep in mind that social media posts can have a long-term impact on your personal and professional reputation.”
Its Bias Education and Response Team will “respond to any reported incident of bias,” the university added. It will also “educate those that were involved, and to provide support by connecting those that were impacted to the appropriate services and resources.”
Earlier this month, three students from Florida’s Wiregrass Ranch High School were pulled up for wearing Ku Klux Klan costumes. Two of the students were reportedly from Hispanic and Middle Eastern descent. According to reports, the costumes were meant to represent a ghost.
“Usually ghosts don’t have pointed hats,” school Superintendent Kurt Browning said.
The students were “disciplined in accordance with our code of conduct,” a school district official reportedly said. They could face up to 10 days of suspension from the school.
Last October, Yale University lecturer Erika Christakis stepped down from her job after she told students to be liberal with Halloween costumes even if they happen to be offensive. Several students and university staff criticized her following which she quit.