U of M asks students to wear appropriate Halloween costumes


University officials are telling their students to be smart – not offensive – as they pick out their Halloween costumes for upcoming festivities.

The University of Minnesota sent an email late last week to students urging them to be respectful when picking out a costume, the Minnesota Daily says. Administrators wrote:

“Please keep in mind that certain Halloween costumes inappropriately perpetuate racial, cultural and gender stereotypes. ... Although it may not be the intent, these costumes, and choosing to wear them, can depict identities in ways that are offensive or hurtful to others.”

The American Indian Student Cultural Center told the newspaper that when people dress as American Indians or Mexicans for Halloween it belittles their cultures and traditions.

U of M officials sent out a similar email last year after students had complained about outfits that had stereotyped American Indians.

It's not just cultural costumes that people are criticizing this year. Many publications, including The Associated Press and Time Magazine have written stories about how this year's costume flap will likely be Ebola – people dressed as Ebola zombies, bloody Ebola patients or even someone donning a hazmat suit.

The website Bustle called going as Ebola "disturbing" and the “most offensive Halloween costume of the season.”

However, not everyone is saying going as Ebola is offensive. Kyle Smith of the New York Post wrote, "When we mock Ebola, we're simply making fun of ourselves. Since everybody dies, when we make fun of Ebola we're just mocking our own fears of death."

This isn't the first year a university or publication has urged people to be respectful during Halloween – and throughout the year.

Some University of North Dakota students have taken a lot of heat lately. A group of UND students were criticized for wearing “Siouxper Drunk” t-shirts, which featured an Indian chief logo, similar to the retired UND Fighting Sioux logo, drinking from a beer bong.

A sorority at the school was also criticized this spring for displaying a banner that was called insensitive to American Indians. In 2008, the same sorority was criticized for holding a “cowboy and Indian” party in which attendees wore headdresses, face paint, and other stereotypical garb.

Last year, a Michigan woman dressed as a Boston Marathon bombing victim got death threats after posting a photo of herself with bloody knees and a runner's bib on social media.

Two students at Northwestern sparked national outrage when they donned black face at a 2009 Halloween party. A Penn State sorority was placed on probation after a Mexican-themed party where students wore ponchos and sombreros. One woman in a photo from the party held a sign that said, “Will mow lawn for weed + beer.”

A group of Ohio University students created a poster campaign in 2011 condemning what they called racist Halloween costumes.

When Syracuse University officials several years ago cautioned students about costumes, First-Amendment advocates scolded them. A campus university newspaper urged students to “Let creativity and intelligent humor be your guide … rather than crass and thoughtless idiocy.”

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 10.13.52 AM

K-9 training at Willmar public housing complex on hold after ACLU complaint

The ACLU posted a photo on social media of a sign alerting residents at the Lakeview Apartments of K-9 training taking place in the building.

Cam Talbot / Minnesota Wild

Wild take Game 1 over Vegas in overtime thriller

It was an epic dual between Cam Talbot and Marc-Andre Fluery.

Taylor Rogers

Twins defense, bullpen squanders another rally

This is the story of the 2021 Twins.

Minneapolis police

3 Mpls officers injured on night of shootings, stabbings and fights

It was a tense weekend for the city of Minneapolis.

Fruen Mill in Minneapolis.

Teen in serious condition after fall at abandoned Minneapolis mill

Multiple urban explorers have been hurt at the Fruen Mill.

Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 5.44.29 PM

Brooklyn Center City Council votes to create department for noncriminal calls

The resolution is named after Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler, who were both killed by police in Brooklyn Center.

Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 7.54.26 AM

Train derails while passing by lake in Albert Lea

The Union Pacific train derailed Saturday afternoon.

Kaprizov, Wild

5 questions for the Wild's playoff series against Vegas

The Wild seem to have the advantage, but can they win their first playoff series since 2015?

police tape, crime scene

Young girl shot in the head in north Minneapolis

The girl was outside when she was struck by the bullet, police said.

prison, Rush City cell block

Former Army Green Beret and U of M student sentenced for Russian espionage

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 46, was sentenced to 188 months in prison.

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sanó's 8th inning blast ends Twins losing streak

The 5-4 victory over the A's snapped a five-game losing streak.