Giovanna Z. Rinaldo
Editor in Chief
The University sent out an email Monday notifying students of rules and guidelines for the use of Halloween costumes on campus.
In the attached letter sent by Dean of Student Affairs Loretta Rahmani, potential costume ideas were divided into two categories and listed as either “not allowed” — such as masks, weapons, obscene material, costumes demeaning to ethnic, racial and religious groups or nationality and disabilities — or “discouraged” — including underclothing, lingerie, reference to gangs or terrorist organizations and graphic violence.
“What I wanted to point out is that if you look at all of the bullet points, all of these statements are in the spirit of policies that we already have in our student conduct,” Rahmani said.
“For example, weapons or replica of weapons, we have a no-weapons policy. Costumes that show obscene material, prohibited substance or offensive language, we have a sexual harassment policy.
Costumes that may be demeaning to ethnic and racial groups, we have a no discrimination policy.
They are already embedded into our university policies, so by having costumes that would include any of those would be ways of violating these policies.”
Rahmani added that this is the second year the school will enforce such guidelines, but in 2016 they were issued by former senior director of campus safety Jim Miyashiro. She said that Miyashiro had previously worked at other institutions, such as Riverside Community College, where he had always sent guidelines.
Before sending the notice this year, Rahmani consulted with associate provost for faculty affairs Beatriz Gonzalez, interim senior director of University safety operations David Keetle and Juan Regalado, assistant dean of student affairs.
“Nothing is common sense for people, so I think that the school should definitely enforce it,” junior critical civic and community engagement major Rudy Amaya said. “I think that what is common sense to you and me isn’t always common sense to other people, so that is why those guidelines reinforce our safety.”
Amaya added that he thinks there should not be fines or academic consequences for those who infringe the rules, but that the person should be spoken with.
“I think these that are ‘not allowed’ are not allowed for a reason, and it’s to keep us safe so that’s fine,” he said. “And I’m glad that these (others) are discouraged because it’s not necessarily saying you can’t, but that ‘we don’t recommend it.’”
Sophomore biology major Julieta Garcia said that although the guidelines might not substantially affect her since she does not dress up much for Halloween, they should be enforced, as long as done in a reasonable way.
“I think it depends on how much they enforce it, if they give you a fine I think that’s not cool, but if they see you with a full mask on they should just tell you ‘you should take it off because this, this and this,’” Garcia said. “The thing about race and ethnic groups, don’t do that because you may be offending somebody.”
Freshman psychology major Alice Ochoa agreed that there should be rules and they should be enforced somehow, but they should be limited to being guidelines. “I think they should enforce rules,” Ochoa said. “But not any crazy stuff, we’re not in high school anymore.”
Ochoa added that the prohibition of costumes demeaning to any specific group is the one she agrees with the most.
“Those are more cultural things and I feel like that starts a racism argument, and I think that’s a lot worse than someone wearing a bikini as a costume,” she said.
Rahmani said the guidelines serve to help students come to mindful, conscious decisions about Halloween costumes while still having fun.
“Having mindful consciousness of what you’re portraying in your costume it’s just so important,” Rahmani said.
“We can easily not think ‘what is this costume really portraying?’ That can be offensive, discrimination, harassment, and so many people just think (about) what’s funny, but is it?”
Giovanna Z. Rinaldo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.