Letters to the EditorOpinion

Letter to the Editor: Halloween should be safe, fun and inclusive for everyone

During the last part of my Safe Ride work shift, we had just finished dropping off our riders when two people came running frantically to our van asking if we could give them a ride back to the residence halls. With just enough time to complete the route before closing, we saw that we would be able to give them a ride. In the van, we asked the usual “So, how’s your night going?” and one of them responded with, “It’s OK; it was scary in that party and we have boyfriends, so we decided to leave.” After this brief exchange of words, I had to ask myself why our college campus had created a space where people have to leave parties because they’re scared and feel unsafe. The last time I checked, I thought parties were supposed to be anything but scary.

I’m sure that some students who grew up in the United States can remember Halloween being one of the most exciting times of their childhoods. I know I did, and counting up all the candy at the end of the night was probably the only kind of math I enjoyed doing. Fast forward to my life in college, I now know Halloween is no longer about counting all the pieces of candy and comparing the amount with friends. Now, we’re counting how many orange Jell-O shots we can take before we realize it’s one too many. But there’s a darker side to Halloween in college that makes me uncomfortable and, at times, unsafe to even go out at night and enjoy the festivities. When I see someone wear a sombrero, poncho and a mustache and claim that they’re dressed as a Mexican, it only makes me sick to my stomach. How can students have a safe and exciting Halloween when their culture and identity is being used as a costume? I live with my identity on a daily basis and do not wear a sombrero, nor do I wear a poncho. Hell, I can’t even grow a mustache.

In light of the upcoming festivities, I wanted to take time to provide some measures that you as a University of Oregon student can take to ensure that Halloween weekend is safe, inclusive and, of course, fun for everyone.

  1. Don’t be racist, transphobic or anything that uses another person’s identity. Be mindful of your costume choice. Dressing up like a “Mexican” or “Caitlyn Jenner” are not costumes. Those are both identities of people that they live with every day.
  1. Consent for sexual activity is mandatory and no means no. Make sure to always get someone’s consent before doing something stupid and illegal.
  1. Call Safe Ride at 541-346-7433 ext. 2 or Designated Driver Shuttle (DDS) at 541-346-7433 ext. 2. Both services will be available on Friday and Saturday. Safe Ride is open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., but only takes reservations. DDS is open from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. and operates on a first-come, first-served rolling basis.

Have a fun and safe Halloween and go Ducks!

Francisco Morales-O’Connor

ASUO External Vice-President

Safe Ride Education Coordinator

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