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Tales From The Safe Space, Part 42 – Universities Hunker Down For Halloween

halloween-costume-university-of-florida-free-speech

As the nightmare of confected Social Justice Warrior outrage about Halloween costumes comes round once again, spineless university administrators pre-emptively roll over, warning students not to wear “harmful” costumes and preparing lavish contingency plans to flatter and placate anyone who is triggered or traumatised by the annual celebration

Can you believe it has been a year since spoiled and hysterical Yale undergrad Jerelyn Luther achieved her dismal moment in the media sunlight for her on-campus meltdown at a professor who refused to echo the tiresome SJW pre-emptive condemnation of “offensive” Halloween costumes?

A brief reminder:

Some context: the university administrator in question is Nicholas Christakis, the Master of Silliman College. When the university sent a campus-wide notice asking people to be “culturally sensitive” when choosing Halloween costumes this year, Christakis’s wife (repeat: not Christakis, his wife) – who also works for the university – had the temerity to send an email saying that as an educator, what her students choose to wear is none of her damn business.

This didn’t go down at all well with Yale’s coddled population of Stepford Students, for reasons which are now depressingly familiar to many of us. And so it led to a confrontation between some angry young protesters – indignant that the safety of their Safe Space had been compromised – and a harried Nicholas Christakis.

That incident did not end well. The toxic atmosphere churned up by the entitled and oversensitive student protesters led to Professor Christakis having to give up his pastoral position as Master of Silliam College at Yale, while the students themselves shamed themselves in front of the entire world by weeping and rending their garments about Halloween costumes while enjoying the immense privilege of receiving one of the finest educations that money can buy while young people in less fortunate parts of the world are starving, being unjustly imprisoned or having their limbs blown off.

But nobody can say that last Halloween was not an instructive experience – for those currently working or studying at university as well as many other people who became aware of the madness infecting our campuses for the first time. But sadly, it appears that many universities have not learned the right lesson.

Now that Halloween is about to roll around again, the University of Florida is attempting to head off any costume-related hysteria from their student population of adult babies by sending a memo reminding them that wearing the wrong item of clothing could potentially cause “harm” to a completely unrelated third party, and that university authorities will be watching them closely.

From the International Business Times:

Certain Halloween costumes related to race, religion or culture are often deemed offensive. Now, the University of Florida is offering counselling to students who have been troubled by such costumes.

The university sent out a memo to students urging them to make appropriate costume choices for the upcoming holiday. It has also asked students to report incidents of bias to the university’s support team.

“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,” the university said in the memo earlier this week. “Also, keep in mind that social media posts can have a long-term impact on your personal and professional reputation.”

Its Bias Education and Response Team will “respond to any reported incident of bias,” the university added. It will also “educate those that were involved, and to provide support by connecting those that were impacted to the appropriate services and resources.”

So standard practice, basically. Students are encouraged to self-censor their own personal expression, with the bar of “acceptable” behaviour set at the triggering level of the most oversensitive and feeble-minded of student crybabies.

That wobbly-lipped little SJW who spends their life hopping from safe space to safe space, and who thinks that encountering the occasional conservative opinion is tantamount to being the victim of “hate crime”? That’s the person who effectively now sits in judgement of all University of Florida students and the costumes that they decide to wear to their own private social engagements. Everyone must limit their own self-expression to avoid triggering the most easily-triggered of souls on campus.

And what if they don’t? What if some awful student, some shameful subhuman, some latter-day Nazi decides to wear whatever they damn well please to a Halloween party, whether it is a white girl wearing a sombrero or some other piece of “culturally appropriative” garb? Well never fear, because the University of Florida’s hilariously named Bias Education and Response Team (the acronym BERT belying its totalitarian mission) is on hand to “educate those that were involved”.

So while students technically keep their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and expression, in reality the ever-watchful university authorities will be holding them to infantilising yet maddeningly opaque standards of behaviour, and stand ready to send students who cause “offence” to re-education classes.

And what then? What if the student refuses to be re-educated? What if they refuse to be put on “social probation”, as other paternalistic and authoritarian universities are now doing to students who commit speech, thought or clothing crime? Are they to be expelled for

Even the local newspaper, which bends over backwards to be reasonable to the insane people usurping the local university, thinks that they go too far by treating the approach of Halloween as though it as potentially harmful as an incoming hurricane:

We don’t necessarily intend to mock UF. The advisory speaks for itself. But the wording suggests that the current crop of UF students bears no resemblance to the university’s fierce, fearless and armor-skinned mascot. Their collective shells, like their capacity for mirth, seem thin.

It should be noted that UF is not trying to ban Halloween festivities, as far as we can tell. But it would not be surprising to learn that a wayward fraternity prankster who dons The Donald mask would invite chants of “Lock him up!”

[..] One might think mounting debt and a shrinking job market would be more intimidating to these students than a politically incorrect costume. But yes, that’s what we want our next generation of leaders to be: sheltered from controversy, aggrieved by contrary opinions yet critical of, if not revengeful against, those who express them, steeped in identity politics, and adjoined at the hip with some ego-stroking “counselor” so hurt feelings don’t linger. To borrow a phrase popular at the moment, feeding such an attitude at UF and beyond is definitely not how we’ll make America great again.

The behaviour of University of Florida administrators is so far beyond the traditional or reasonable remit of custodians of a place of learning that it quite simply beggars belief. These are young adults, not kindergarten students. These are people old enough to join the military and open lines of credit whom the university does not trust to successfully manage their own interpersonal relationships and any conflicts which arise on their own, without heavy-handed paternalistic intervention?

But to be fair, the students have created the university that they deserve. The minority (and one hopes that it is still a minority) who shriek for the authorities to adjudicate their every social encounter and nurse them back to good mental health in the event of a “bias incident” force university administrators to behave in this way. For as we have all seen over the past couple of years, even bleeding heart leftist professors and administrators with impeccable Social Justice credentials have found themselves vilified and hounded out of their jobs for failing to be sufficiently proactive in anticipating the unique needs of the snowflake generation.

So successful has the campus coup conducted by the Cult Social Justice and Identity Politics been that pre-emptive guidelines about acceptable and unacceptable Halloween costumes (together with stern warnings of punishment and “re-education” for those who transgress) are now all but inevitable.

Spineless university administrators and their thin-skinned, victimhood culture-soaked students are now trapped in a self-reinforcing negative spiral, with each new concession or collaborationist attempt to placate the Social Justice Warriors only serving to validate their actions and encourage them to make ever more egregious demands.

And that’s the real nightmare this Halloween.

 

Postscript: The University of Florida memo in full:

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 umatter@ufl.edu. 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 http://www.umatter.ufl.edu/stopbias. Thank you for being mindful of these values, and have a fun and safe Halloween

 

Safe Space Notice - 2

Top Image: Pixabay

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