This year’s Hallowe’en scare: Helpful universities offer special consultants to make sure no one is offended by costumes

In case you think the Yale Hallowe’en fiasco was a one-off, I’ve been doing a little checking and found this article about colleges creating sensitivity consultants to make sure the kids don’t wear anything offensive. Evidently you were able to check your costume idea ahead of time, and one of the helpful advisers would let you know if you were offending anyone, and if so, whom.

It’s easy to poke fun at this nonsense, but underneath it are two serious issues:

  • Some universities are actually paying people to do this. If these are the kinds of jobs for which budgets exist, this in turn feeds ever-rising tuition fees and, as we’ve seen, buyer resistance. At a time when universities are struggling to maintain (a) relevancy and (b) at least a semi-decent value proposition, a Hallowe’en costume consultancy program is…well, since it’s about Hallowe’en…grosteque. Macabre. Scary.
  • If the kids can’t figure out how to deal with Hallowe’en costumes without adult help — which was really the point of the Yale nonsense — then what’s going to happen when they leave the hallowed halls? Shouldn’t we be starting to see a connection between the underemployed college grads and the stuff they learned — or didn’t learn — back in university?

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. Vice President, Zoomer Media Ltd. . Author of "The New Old" . 30 years experience in marketing communications, advertising, media . Speaker, writer, commentator on the revolution in aging and how to market to Boomers and seniors

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