With Halloween weekend approaching, Gonzaga University has taken the opportunity to warn its students about “dangerous and damaging traditions” that rear its head at this time of year - like “cultural appropriation.”
The private Catholic school points to the holiday’s “Christian origins” but notes that it has devolved into “binge drinking, sexualized or culturally inappropriate costumes, and vandalism,” Judi Biggs Garbuio, the vice president for student development, and Athena Sok, student body president, wrote in a joint email obtained by Campus Reform.
“We urge our community to be aware of the potentially harmful impact insensitive behavior can have on fellow students, other members of the Gonzaga community…one of these behaviors is cultural appropriation – the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing respect of that culture.”
The Gonzaga Student Body Association put on several events this week leading up to the holiday, like “Courageous Conversations: ‘My Culture is Not a Costume’” and “The Sexualization of Halloween.”
The officials encourage students to “be alert” and report or intervene with any “concerning” situations.
Earlier this year, Biggs Garbuio sent out a proactive email to students on Cinco de Mayo, saying she didn’t want to see any pictures of Gonzaga students appropriating Mexican culture, as reported by The Spokesman-Review.
She included ways to “celebrate responsibly” by not wearing serapes and fake mustaches and donate to organizations working for immigrants rights,” as well as “Alternative Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo.”