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UGBC Encourages Respectful Halloween Costumes

Asst. News Editor

Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

After much discussion about what some people considered offensive costumes seen on campus during Halloween last year, UGBC has created the Dress with Respect campaign for Halloween 2012.

Dress with Respect is designed to encourage Boston College students to think carefully before choosing a costume and make them aware of the potential repercussions of wearing certain costumes, not to tell them what they should and should not wear, said Natali Soto, co-director of the Dress with Respect committee and A&S ’14.

“It’s not just about culture,” said Francesska Jean-Pierre, co-director of the Dress with Respect committee and A&S ’14. “There are a lot of questionable religious and GLBTQ costumes.”
In order to address this issue, the policy department of the AHANA Leadership Council (ALC) created a committee that included members of ALC, the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC), and the Cabinet in order to come up with a plan to be proactive this year.

“It’s a respect thing,” Soto said. “We want students to respect their peers and to think about how a costume, which to them might not have any importance, might be affecting their BC peers.”
At tables stationed throughout campus this week, students can learn more about what their peers consider offensive. Each table will feature photos of costumes that members of the subcommittee were either personally offended by or thought that other people might find offensive, Soto said. Students can place a “yes” or “no” sticker on the photo to signal whether they consider the costume appropriate or not. This will create a visual representation of what the BC student body thinks about various costumes, some of which students might not have seen as potentially offensive before the activity.

“It will open BC students’ minds up to say, ‘This might not be offensive to me personally, but some of my BC peers think this is offensive,’” Soto said. “The proxy station does not aim to tell students, ‘This is offensive, do not wear this.’”
In addition to these tables, the committee has created a series of flyers and banners that feature campus leaders from a variety of organizations, including sports teams, dance clubs, campus ministry organizations, UGBC, and culture clubs.

“The point of the banner is that leaders are saying, ‘I’m pledging to respect this Halloween,’ and it’s asking the student body to think about taking the pledge as well,” Soto said.

The Women’s Resource Center and the Office of Student Services are also showing their support for the campaign, and various other administrative offices have contacted the committee to get more involved, Jean-Pierre said.

 Students can like the Dress with Respect page on Facebook as a sign that they will be respectful in their costume choices this year, and follow its Twitter account to get more updates as the campaign progresses, Soto said.

She and Jean-Pierre said that they hoped that students would consider the historical background, if any, related to a costume they might want to wear and have discussions with their friends if they were uncertain about the appropriateness of a costume.

“We are a Jesuit, Catholic institution,” Soto said. “We are taught in our classes and conversations with administrators to respect one another, and we want to keep that respect during a holiday like Halloween, which can sometimes be forgotten.”

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