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University Sponsors Workshop on How Not to Be Offensive in Selecting a Halloween Costume

The students at the University of Southern Indiana had the opportunity last week to participate in an important workshop on campus.


The presentation did not, however, have anything to do with methods by which to settle global conflict, how to enhance the stature of developing nations on the world economic stage, or anything like that.

The workshop, called “Culture not Costumes,” was instead designed to tackle the enormous problem of cultural insensitivity in the selection of Halloween costumes.

According to The College Fix, the workshop addressed the hazards of “cultural appropriation,” which is defined in a workshop handout as “the taking of intellectual property, knowledge, and cultural expression from someone else’s culture without permission.”

Hosted by the University’s Housing and Residence Life…which means it was an official university event…the workshop activities included handing out to the assembled what were essentially practice Halloween costumes, as well as instructions as to how to create a costume that is not insensitive. Per some of the information provided to attendees, superheroes, ghosts, and cats are acceptable costumes, while “sexy Indian princesses” are not.

Even better, according to the Fix, was the inclusion in one of the handouts of a helpful flowchart that students could use to select a costume. As with other such flowcharts, whenever a student would make a “wrong” choice in the costume selection process, the diagram would instruct them to “go back and start at the beginning.”

By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large