'We are a culture, not a costume': NAU campaign encourages cultural awareness

The "We are a culture, not a costume" campaign aims to remind Northern Arizona University students to be sensitive to cultures with their costumes.

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. - A Kimono, a Mariachi suit, Native American-inspired dresses are considered Halloween costumes by some but offensive by others.

This Halloween, Northern Arizona University is encouraging students to make educated choices about their costumes with the "We are a culture, not a costume" campaign.

“It’s intended as a guide and a reminder as people start to think what they want to wear and what they want to do for Halloween,” said Kimberly Ott, a communications manager for NAU.  

School officials say they will not become the Halloween police and no one will be penalized by what they decide to wear.

“We definitely will not be having a checkpoint somewhere that’s like ,‘What are you wearing and is it OK?’” said Ott.

In the end, it’s a choice made by the individual, not the university.

“I think it’s good, yes, 'cause some costumes can be very inappropriate and hurtful and I don’t think anybody wants to hurt someone on purpose,” said NAU student David Miller. “I also feel like no, (the campaign is not good) because it limits one’s ability for free speech.”

Others think the school is making a bigger deal about costumes than it needs to be.

“It’s Halloween, like, nobody, I would hope nobody is thinking of doing that,” said NAU student Janae Marcelin.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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