Students at Gonzaga University have been warned against “cultural appropriation” when they celebrate Halloween on the Washington State campus.
The website Campus Reform reproduced part of an email from the school’s Vice President for Student Development Judi Biggs Garbuio and Student Body President Athena Sok setting down the rules for what should and should not take place on Halloween
Halloween “has also become known for more dangerous and damaging traditions like binge drinking, sexualized or culturally inappropriate costumes, and vandalism,” they wrote.
“We urge our community to be aware of the potentially harmful impact insensitive behavior can have on fellow students, other members of the Gonzaga community, and our Logan neighbors.”
Is Dracula allowed if you’re not Transilvanian? Or is that Cultural appropriation…
— Steve (Eggy) 🇬🇧 (@Eggit1) October 23, 2018
Students were cautioned to enjoy the holiday respectfully.
“One of these behaviors is cultural appropriation — the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing respect of that culture,” the email said.
Gonzaga will be teaching students right from wrong, and invited all those unclear on what was allowed to attend upcoming events titled “My Culture is Not a Costume” and “The Sexualization of Halloween.”
Gonzaga senior Megan Lavagnino said the comments are over the top.
“This email is sent out every year, and it is unnecessary and shows that Gonzaga wants to create problems out of nothing,” she said.
The school has voiced its concerns about cultural appropriation in the past, including at this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
At that time, Garbuio said she did not want to see anything culturally insensitive as the college observed the 1862 defeats of the French at the hands of the Mexican army.
“Unfortunately, the celebrations have become less about the appreciation of Mexican heritage, and instead has become more about drinking and partying, especially by non-Mexican individuals,” she wrote in an email to students.
“Because of this, there are many instances when Cinco de Mayo becomes a holiday that is full of cultural appropriation. At some college campuses, including our own, students create ‘theme’ parties or dress in costumes that are insensitive and offensive to the Mexican-American … culture,” she wrote.
Gonzaga is not the only college to fret about costumes; at Penn State, the student newspaper devoted an editorial to the issue.
“During Halloween, a light is really shown on cultural appropriation and the issue surrounding insensitive costumes,” the editorial read, suggesting students dress to have fun without giving offense.
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