The University of Florida has a hotline for people who see offensive Halloween costumes. UF sent out the alert earlier this month saying how important it was to have an “inclusive definition of diversity.”

October brings fall weather and Halloween. If you choose to participate in Halloween activities, we encourage you to think about your choices of costumes and themes. Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions. Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people. Also, keep in mind that social media posts can have a long-term impact on your personal and professional reputation. The University of Florida’s Division of Student Affairs Diversity and Social Justice Statement reminds us that UF fosters a community that values and respects diversity. An inclusive definition of diversity recognizes the variety of personal and social experiences that make individuals and communities different from one another.

As a community, we aspire to demonstrate integrity, respect, and compassion that strives to maintain an affirming campus climate for all members of our community. If you are troubled by an incident that does occur, please know that there are many resources available. Please take advantage of the 7 day a week presence of the U Matter, We Care program at the University of Florida by emailing [email protected] Additionally, there is a 24/7 counselor in the Counseling and Wellness Center available to speak by phone at 352-392-1575. Lastly, the Bias Education and Response Team at the University of Florida is able to respond to any reported incidents of bias, to educate those that were involved, and to provide support by connecting those that were impacted to the appropriate services and resources. You may submit a bias incident report at www.umatter.ufl.edu/stopbias.Thank you for being mindful of these values, and have a fun and safe Halloween

This “warning” is obviously directed at those fraternities and sororities which occasionally cross the line on parties and events which either are, or just appear to be, racist (let’s be honest, not every themed party is meant to be offensive). UF was also pretty smart in reminding students how social media can come back to bite people in their personal and professional lives (even though there’s something to be said about just being a “dumb college student”). The advent of social media has changed how our lives are. Just look at all the people who SJWs on both sides have tried to get fired for either saying or doing stupid things. It is true private companies have every right to fire their employees, but I’m not sure someone should lose their job for every past transgression (or costume).

I can understand why counseling would be made available if a girl (or a guy) happens to see someone dressed up in a “Lester the Molester” costume or some rapist costume. But one would hope the person who needed counseling was already getting professional help or had friends/parents they could talk to on the issue. Student counseling could certainly help those who have no one to talk to, and hopefully would encourage them to get even more help.

The biggest question is whether or not there needs to be “counseling” for people who are offended by stereotypical costumes. I wholly admit to thinking Big Bang Theory only reinforces stereotypes on people who like science fiction and comic books, but I don’t think I need to get counseling. The same goes whenever I see TV shows or movies which give the idea that people from Dallas are either A) a bunch of cowboys or B) a bunch of stuck up people or rednecks. That’s not true either, but again, no counseling is needed. It just seems a little overboard to have counseling available for stereotypical costumes. College students need to grow up and learn they won’t be protected from everything that offends them. It’s just not possible, unless you decide to lock yourself in your off-campus apartment, attend online school, and order delivery every night.

It should be pointed out that I’m not trying to justify the morons out there who want to be racist for the sake of racism. But there’s the chance they’d be forced to re-think their opinions if their transgression were brought to light. Isn’t that what the media is for, especially when it comes to college newspapers, TV, and radio stations? If more organizations were willing to expose this type of inanity, it’s possible (insert fraternity/sorority name here) would stop doing stupid stuff. The same goes for national chapters of said fraternity/sorority.

Halloween is supposed to be a fun time for people who choose to participate. The only concern is certain public colleges seem to be willing to take the fun out of it (private universities can do whatever they want). At what point do public universities get too concerned with keeping everyone safe and just start banning things outright (like clowns or Freddy Krueger costumes)? If they do that, then we might as well just start skipping Halloween and go straight to Christmas or whatever we’re supposed to say these days.

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