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Students at Queen’s University facing criticism over ‘racist’ costume party

Click to play video 'Costumes at “Beerfest” party attended by Queen’s students draw criticism over portrayal of racist stereotypes' Costumes at “Beerfest” party attended by Queen’s students draw criticism over portrayal of racist stereotypes
Photos circulating online show students dressed as Sheiks, Tibetan monks and Viet Cong fighters among caricatures. While the school says it’s looking into it, there isn’t much the administration can do. Mark Carcasole reports – Nov 23, 2016

KINGSTON, Ont. – An Ontario university says it is looking into reports of a costume party attended by undergraduates that has been condemned by student leaders because of racial stereotypes.

A statement from Queen’s University principal Daniel Woolf posted on the school’s website says it appears Saturday’s party took place off the university’s campus in Kingston, Ont.

Woolf says that such a party would never be sanctioned by the university’s senior administration.

The Alma Mater Society, a student government at the school, says the party was inappropriate and is an act that makes students feel uncomfortable.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Make it Awkward campaign focuses on offensive Halloween costumes

Photographs circulating on social media show students, most of them white, dressed as Middle Eastern sheiks, Viet Cong guerrillas and Buddhist monks.

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Woolf says the matter is being taken seriously by the university.

“Queen’s strives to be a diverse and inclusive community free from discrimination or harassment of any kind. Any event that degrades, mocks, or marginalizes a group or groups of people is completely unacceptable,” Woolf said in the statement.

READ MORE: Hilary Duff apologizes on Twitter for offensive Halloween costume

“If we determine that this was a Queen’s sponsored or sanctioned event, we will take appropriate action.”

The student government says it will use the party as an opportunity to talk about race and racism at the school.

“These events undermine Queen’s ability to provide a welcoming and respectful campus environment,” said Carolyn Thompson, vice president of university affairs with the Alma Mater Society, in a statement.

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