HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — At Quinnipiac University, the posters are hanging all over campus. They message, ‘You think it’s harmless. But you’re not the Target,’ is from Quinnipiac students and for Quinnipiac students.
“It’s just to respect people’s culture because everybody’s different,” said Jordan Tapia, a Quinnipiac student.
The posters show, for example, a man in a sombrero and another man in an Indian Headdress. It’s a stark reminder that the Halloween costume you pick could offend.
“People are speaking out – the transgender community, as well as the black community, the Latino community saying this is not respectful,” said Diane Ariza, a Quinnipiac University Associate VP for Academic Affairs & Chief Diversity Office. “It’s not about stopping your expression. It’s to be mindful of how you express. This is not about stopping freedom of speech. We’re not telling students that you can’t do it. It’s saying to students when you do it, be mindful of the reaction you might get from your roommate or a friend in your classroom.”
Quinnipiac students volunteered to be pictured with people in racially charged costumes. It has stirred conversations.
“I think it’s an important campaign,” said Kelly Kruysman, a Quinnipiac Student. “I think a lot of times during Halloween people are excited. They want to dress up, I think it’s very easy to offend some people even without meaning too.”
“Like Pocahontas, I don’t feel like people are trying to do anything against Native Americans,” said Chris DiGirolomo, Quinnipiac Student. “They’re just putting on a Halloween costume.”
One poster hit extremely close to home.
“The one that comes to mind that was very painful was about a month ago was the black face and that comes with historical context of what black face is,” said Aziza.
Just a month ago, a Quinnipiac student left the university after posting a picture of another student in a mud mask with the caption ‘Black Lives Matter.’
It caused outrage. It sparked conversation.
“I feel the conversation has opened up more around here,” said Tapia.
The conversation around sensitivity has opened up again with these posters.
Quinnipiac isn’t the only university that’s asking students to be sensitive. Top administrators from Yale University sent an e-mail out to students that stated, “If you dress up for the holiday, don a costume that respects your classmates.”
The entire e-mail is below:
With fall break here and Halloween just around the corner, we hope you are all planning to take some time to relax and have fun with people you care about. We also hope you that you will stay safe, think about the choices you are making, and be aware of how those choices affect other people.
Yale should always be a community of care and mutual respect, and we invite your active participation in that shared effort.
If you see someone who needs medical attention, call for help:
If you dress up for the holiday, don a costume that respects your classmates.
If you engage in sexual behavior, do so with consent and mutual respect.
With best wishes for the rest and festivities ahead–”
Burgwell J. Howard
Assoc. VP for Student Life
Dean of Student Engagement
Senior Associate Dean of Yale College
Dean of Student Affairs