That time of the year when people forget all rules of human decency and good taste with their Halloween costumes is upon us yet again. But luckily, a flier circulating on the University of Massachusetts at Amherst campus offers some pretty genius guidelines for you to know if you’re stepping over the line.
The flier advises students to consider just how far the costume moves outside of their ethnic group and whether their intention is to be funny to help gauge whether the threat of offending fellow students ranks from “low” to “severe.”
Here’s the flier, via the conservative blog Campus Reform:
Various conservative sites instantly seized on the flier, decrying it as policing students’ free speech right to wear blackfaces, sombreros, and Native American headdresses to their hearts’ content on October 31.
In a statement to Fusion, university spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said the flier was posted by RAs in one campus dorm and that it was not sponsored by the university.
The statement reads:
As part of the university’s continuing efforts to foster an inclusive and supportive living environment for all students, resident assistants at UMass Amherst this month created bulletin boards communicating those values and explaining how some Halloween costumes may be offensive to others. The guidelines used to create the bulletin boards are intended to educate students about cultural appropriation and help them make informed choices about costumes. UMass Amherst does not prohibit or ban any costumes.
In one residence hall, a “threat level flow chart” for choosing a Halloween costume was posted on a bulletin board. It is not part of the recommended educational materials that RAs were advised to display, but rather was downloaded from the Internet and was posted by a well-intetioned student staff member. The chart has been removed from the bulletin board.