The student union at the University of Kent has issued a number of fancy dress guidelines, banning students from wearing ‘offensive’ costumes which may potentially offend others.
New guidelines drawn up for those attending fancy dress parties within the university state that: “dressing up as a particular race, culture or stereotype is offensive and Kent Union will not tolerate [these] behaviours.”
The union said the draft guidelines were in response to ‘complaints’ it has recieved in recent years. The guidance, which has been circulated to student groups, says the union will not tolerate behaviours that seek to offend a ‘particular race or culture’.
The union stated that: “We empower students to be creative, whilst also ensuring all students feel welcome and safe. Student groups are free to engage in fancy dress while ensuring they abide by the fancy dress guidelines which include not being offensive, discriminatory and prejudice to an individual’s race, gender, disability or sexual orientation or based on stereotypes.”
Dozens of costume themes appear on the banned list, including Native Americans, cowboys, priests, nuns, ISIS bombers, Nazi officers as well as dressing like a ‘chav’ or other social stereotype or anything else which might ‘degrade someone’s ancestry in a derogatory way’.
“Fancy Dress themes should also not be centered around political group stereotypes or the stereotypes of different levels of perceived class in the means to diminish their worth or validity,” continued the statement. “This again would promote an unsafe and exclusive campus to which we do not tolerate.”
Costumes of celebrities known for their sexual misconduct or abuse of power have also been banned, including the disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile and movie producer Harvey Weinstein.
The union says these could threaten other students with the ‘right to a safe space at our university’.