Dear fellow students of McGill and members of the SSMU,
It has come to our attention that at the recent 4Floors event held in the William Shatner University Building on 25 October 2012, numerous individuals were dressed in inappropriate and oppressive costumes.
We apologize that sufficient preventative, anti-oppressive measures were not in place at the time of 4Floors. Moreover we apologize to all who are offended by these costumes. It is the responsibility of the SSMU to ensure that all events in the building are operated under safe space principles and unfortunately in this case – safety was breached. We denounce costumes of these natures as they directly violate our Equity Policy.
The SSMU has an Equity Policy which aims to promote a functional anti-oppressive environment, and applies to all SSMU activities and events. Dressing up as people of colour or indigenous persons perpetuates discrimination towards groups that are historically and culturally disadvantaged on the basis of their personal characteristics. As we all attend an institution of higher learning with a large multiethnic and multicultural population, it is disappointing to see that there are individuals who lack the necessary understanding or respect.
We would like to iterate that in no way is SSMU trying to limit freedom of expression. A costume that relies on painting skin a different colour to depict a certain race, or stereotyping another culture through the appropriation of their clothing is an act of microaggression that cannot be justified as creativity. If you would like more information regarding the SSMU Equity Policy, please contact the Equity Commissioners at email@example.com.
The SSMU has an Equity Complaints process which allows individuals who find themselves in situations of harassment or discrimination to file an official complaint that will be thoroughly investigated and resolved. An Equity Complaint can be filed, in French or English, by e-mailing the Equity Commissioners or by filling out an online form at http://ssmu.mcgill.ca/about/ssmu-equity/.
Your SSMU Executives