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Nov 06, 2013 09:42 AM EST

Birmingham Students Banned From Halloween Party over ‘Racist’ Outfits

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The University of Birmingham's student union is being criticized for banning a group of students in racist fancy dress outfits from attending a Halloween party.

Students who were forbidden from attending the 'Fab n Halloween' ball' were dressed as Mexicans in sombrero hats, Native Indians (headdresses, fake moustaches), and Sacha Baron Cohen's character from the film The Dictator

Several students have accused the Guild of Students, the union, for being overly-sensitive and described the ban as 'heavy-handed political correctness gone mad,' Daily Mail UK reports.

Third year student Johnathan Blausten wrote a letter to the Guild saying: ".......I was refused entry to 'Fab n Halloween' dressed as Admiral General Aladeen from 'The Dictator', because my costume was 'racist'. I'm still waiting to hear who I was offending, going as a character from a fictional country in a movie which parodies almost every country on earth with no particular bias,"Mirror reports.

Carl Raynsford, a 21-year-old basketball player, told The Tab that his team was thrown out of the event because 'anti-racism and anti-fascism officer' objected to their Mexican outfits.  

"We were dressed as Mexicans which involved only a sombrero and a poncho and potentially a drawn-on moustache,' Raynsford told Daily Mail UK. "I'm not sure why it's deemed racist, nor why the 'anti-facism officer' needs any involvement. Would I be offended if someone came as an Englishman?"

Defending the ban, Vicki Harris, the guild's vice president of sport, said that the banned students engaged in discriminatory behavior by wearing costumes that were offensive and harmful.

"After speaking with other officers - the welfare, and anti-racism and anti-fascism officers in particular, [we decided that] dressing up as Mexicans would not be okay, since it could be seen as imitation of a culture and relate to a stereotype about the race of that particular ethnicity group, even if the intention is by no means harmful at all!, Harris told Independent.

"We are in the process of creating some guidelines which will offer more direction and explanation about fancy dress and the policy, but in the meantime if you have a back-up theme I would recommend going with that instead!"

Following this huge controversy relating to the fancy dress night, several students have threatened to boycott future guild events.

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