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Campus police to probe ‘offensive’ Halloween costumes, students told

Members of Tufts University’s Greek system have been told they could face “serious disciplinary sanctions” — including a possible investigation by the campus police — for wearing Halloween costumes that offend peers or make the campus community “feel threatened or unsafe.”

The warning was part of a letter to the presidents of fraternities and sororities on campus signed by various Greek Life council leaders, who asked the chapter presidents to relay the message to their members.

The letter stated in part that “Greek Brothers and Sisters have worn costumes that appropriate cultures and reproduce stereotypes on race, gender, sexuality, immigrant or socioeconomic status. Outfits relating to tragedy, controversy, or acts of violence are also inappropriate. … It is our mission to promote spaces that allow members of the Tufts community to have fun without feeling as though any part of their identity is being misrepresented or targeted.”

The letter went on to warn “there are consequences for wearing an offensive costume.”

It states: “Mary Pat McMahon, the Dean of Student Affairs, described the consequences as follows: ‘The range of response for students whose actions make others in our community feel threatened or unsafe, or who direct conduct towards others that is offensive or discriminatory, includes [Office of Equal Opportunity] and/or [Tufts University Police Department] investigation and then disciplinary sanctions from our office that could run a wide gamut depending on what is brought to our attention and the impact of these actions on others. Any complaints will result in full investigation by University officials and could result in serious disciplinary sanctions through Judicial Affairs.’”

The letter then encouraged students to report each other if they “encountered someone who is wearing an inappropriate and offensive costume,” providing the URL to Tufts’ “Incidents of Bias, Intolerance, Discrimination and/or Hate Reporting Form.”

Signed by the Inter Greek Council, Multicultural Greek Council, InterFraternity Council, and Panhellenic Council, the letter also reminds students to obtain consent before any sexual encounters during Halloween, citing a traditional increase in assaults during this time.

In a statement emailed Monday to The College Fix, campus spokesman Patrick Collins clarified that “Tufts University does not have a ‘Halloween costume policy.’”

“The letter was written by students, for students, to encourage a thoughtful and considerate celebration of Halloween within our diverse and inclusive community and to stress the importance of alcohol safety and sexual consent,” Collins said. “We commend the leaders of our Greek Life councils for proactively raising these important issues with their fellow participants in Greek Life and encouraging responsible behavior. As is the case at any time, students whose actions are discriminatory or threaten others can face a range of disciplinary sanctions. Depending on their seriousness, such actions, when called to our attention, can prompt investigations by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, the Office of Equal Opportunity or, in certain circumstances, the Tufts University Police Department.”

Jake Goldberg, a student at Tufts University and founder of Students Advocating for Students, a free speech advocacy group which first reported on this issue, told The College Fix that “this campus, as well as many other universities around the country, have fundamentally inverted the meaning of tolerance.”

“Many of my friends have felt compelled to alter their costume plans out of fear of administrative retaliation,” Goldberg told The Fix. “Merely unintentionally offending somebody with your costume could cause a Tufts student to face severe discipline … . A truly tolerant campus would ignore unfavorable costumes, a truly totalitarian campus would censor them. It seems quite clear based off of Tufts’ policy which category the university falls into.”

MORE: Offended by Halloween costumes? Call 24/7 counselor at U. of Florida

MORE: Wesleyan offers to tell students if their Halloween costumes are offensive

MORE: College posts contact info of 5 officials standing by to tell students if their costume’s offensive

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About the Author
Peter Van Voorhis -- UC Irvine

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  • HansM-742

    So I guess these grown college students will have to parade before The Thought Police who will determine what is in their minds based on what they’re wearing. Doesn’t anyone see the utter madness in this?

  • BenDoverPls

    Offensive is in the mind of the offendee.

    Name one costume that cannot be misconstrued to be offensive to some individual somewhere.. Impossible.

    Where does the censorship stop.

  • The right to not be offended doesn’t exist in the USA. The right to free speech, however, DOES exist and is our most sacred and primary right – the FIRST right listed in the Bill of Rights. How can a University that accepts government funding protect a right that DOES NOT exist, and do away with a right that DOES exist?

    This is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! It is teaching kids that they don’t choose to be offended, instead it happens to them by the actions of others. That is WRONG and a bad thing to teach. It teaches kids that they can control others by claiming to be offended – that is also WRONG and a bad thing to teach. It teaches kids that they do not have free speech rights in the USA – that is also WRONG and a bad thing to teach. It teaches kids that they do not have to respect the free speech rights of others – also WRONG and a bad thing to teach. It teaches kids that the personal opinions (that cultural appropriation exists) of one person, has more value than the personal opinions (that cultural appropriation doesn’t exist) of another person, when BOTH are EQUAL under our laws.

    This is truly horrible, if you sit back and think of all the wrong teachings and implications for youth who have their free speech rights taken away merely be someone claiming they are offended.

    • Dixon Ermouth

      The right to free speech “does” exist, but only if your race isn’t referred to as White or Caucasian.

    • Don Marshall

      well said.

  • Faron Hall

    Sue the crap out of these pathetic, useless, mindless fools! You CAN NOT punish someone for what they are wearing. Time to use the liberals’ favorite tactic – bankrupt them through litigation. Tired of these whiny little losers.

  • Dixon Ermouth

    Then, using the liberal reasoning of what is offensive, they should ban the Trump pumpkin faces. I find it offensive when our president is mocked. I noticed the horribly racist USA didn’t do anything like that to mock Barbie Obama.

  • Hedley Lamar

    For Halloween, they could dress up as college students and pretend to be educated. That would be a real switch.

    • David William Reid

      Why are you now trying to make this a witch hunt for a brain?

    • Donald Holland

      ….or a Democrat, but the total lobotomy may be tough!

  • Heartland Patriot

    How do you end this mess? Stop giving them money. Stop enrolling in these propaganda mills expecting to get an education. You will receive less than you pay to get, and yet much more than you bargained for, if you spend four or more years listening to leftists.

  • Ringolevio

    Isn’t it cultural appropriation for all these people and organizations to refer to themselves as “Greek”?

  • Roger Meurer

    There you go!
    Be the NAZIS that the oh so “progressive” lefties want you to be.
    Turn in your neighbor, friend, or even relative if they should happen to “offend” you or any other of the snowflakes out there that have decided that THEY and only THEY get to decide what’s appropriate or what’s not “cultural appropriation”.
    Hell, let’s just get those camps and ovens built now so thy don’t have to stack up everyone in jails later!!

  • Don Marshall

    Guess i will dress as a brown paper bag and hope for the best. If its a noun or an adjective likely someone will find offence.Really sad mess.

  • This is plain stupid it is hard for me to comprehend, how we have gotten here and who makes this shit up. When I was ambitious as far as Halloween went one year I dressed up as Monica Lewinsky stained dress and all. Shopping for a 4X dress was a experience, lots of dirty looks at Last Chance LMAO. When Clarence Thomas was having his hearings and the term LONG DONG SILVER came up just about every guy that year dressed as Clarence Thomas with a Long Dong made out of aluminum foil. I admire and respect Justice Thomas. At the same time that was fuckin funny and no one had to have comfort dogs, playdough or cookies and milk. My Safe Place is at the bar having a cigar. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/be053b3bf72e9f5b057996a635c9889b99b8caeca1fe6626248127aa3aade161.jpg