The students’ union at Edinburgh University is under fire – after banning students from “cross-dressing” or dressing in “camp” costumes at Halloween.
The controversy came after the Edinburgh University Students’ Association published a new Halloween costumes policy, which outlaws ‘offensive’ costumes such as Nazi outfits.
It claims: “Here at EUSA we want everyone to have a great night out every time they come to one of our venues, but especially on Halloween!
“It’s an opportunity for you to show off your most imaginative costume ideas, but it’s also an opportunity to show respect and consideration for each other by avoiding costumes which might cause offense.”
However, the policy also explicitly prohibits “costumes which mock or are based on stereotypes of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) community”.
Listing prohibited costumes, it explicitly names: “Camp men costumes, Caitlyn Jenner costumes, costumes which use cross-dressing for the purpose of humour”.
This comes despite Caitlyn Jenner herself insisting she has no issue with anyone dressing up as her.
A petition calling for “Free Speech” to be reinstated at the university has attracted 900 signatures.
However, the union insists its policies are designed to protect people.
EUSA President Jonny Ross Tatam inisted: “Our position on fancy dress costumes has been developed in response to student feedback.
“We think it’s important to ensure that none of our members are prevented from enjoying a great night in our venues, so we want people to consider the impact their costume might have on others.
“We think it’s important to highlight that our policies are there to broaden free speech, not to restrict it.
“We’re committed to ensuring everyone feels able to participate in debate and discussion within our venues.
“We believe this is vital if everyone is to have the chance to have their views heard, which is fundamentally what we believe free speech is all about.”