University of Florida Bee and Iceberg Costume

Melting Icebergs and Endangered Species: Student Newspaper Suggests ‘Inoffensive’ Halloween Costumes

By Jillian Kay Melchior | 6:32 pm, October 17, 2016

Halloween is a dicey time for people with sensitive makeups, and with that in mind, the University of Florida last week emailed its 52,000 students letting them know it would be providing 24/7 counseling to anyone “triggered” by what they see on Oct. 31.

Now, the school’s student newspaper has followed up with some politically correct costume suggestions of their own. “A sickly thin iceberg is a cute take on climate change,” the editors wrote in today’s edition of the Alligator, “and the last surviving bumblebee could be a clever comment on the newly endangered species.”

Emily Cochrane, the Alligator‘s editor-in-chief, says the costume recommendations were “examples of how to make a statement without being offensive to someone’s culture or heritage, not necessarily a serious recommendation.”

The editorial also emphasized the student newspaper’s commitment to free speech, urging, “Please, dear reader, do not mistake ‘that is offensive’ with ‘I am offended.’”

Cochrane says the editorial board considers costumes offensive when they “mock, diminish or perpetuate stereotypes about people’s culture or heritage.”

Her editorial board also encouraged students to take advantage of the counseling services the university offers to anyone who is emotionally injured by a costume.

“The only message we have is that if you feel like your costume could potentially be offensive to multiple people, don’t wear it,” Cochrane says. “If you have to question it, it’s probably not the best idea.”

Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.