Halloween brings threat of race controversies on campus
- Inside Higher Ed profiles a growing movement among college administrators to get the word out to students about selecting racially or ethnically insensitive costumes for Halloween parties.
- Schools like the University of Wisconsin at Lacrosse and the University of Massachusetts - Amherst have developed forums and targeted messaging to students about making smarter choices in costumes and party themes.
- Students have mocked the warnings on social media, with some calling the guidance a continuing infringement upon free speech and a lack of faith in student tolerance and decision making.
These are good examples of how campus administrators can stay ahead of and limit culpability when students make unwise, racially offensive choices in costumes and party themes. Even if the messaging is mocked or creates dialog among faculty and students, the goal for administrators is to be able to tell media, parents and donors in the aftermath of a bad choice "we tried as best as we could to keep this from happening."
In a climate made increasingly more tense by claims of microaggressions and flat-out racism on campus, campus officials are wise to go on record on the front end denouncing such actions. The alternative, as we saw at the University of Missouri, could be a revolt against leadership perceived as being too lenient on or insensitive to these issues.
- Inside Higher Ed Costume choices