SU receive complaints over ‘sexist’ Halloween Ball advert

DCU Students’ Union were forced to change the wording on their online advert for the Halloween Ball after students complained it was sexist.

Last week DCUSU.ie, the SU’s website, had an image advertising tonight’s Halloween Ball, which stated a prize would be given to the student wearing the ‘sluttiest’ costume. The advert had read: “We’re taking fancy dress to the next level this year with four costume categories you can enter to win prizes. These are most original, sluttiest, funniest and scariest.”

However the wording on the advert was then changed, with the word ‘sluttiest’ replaced by the word ‘sexiest’ after the SU received serious complaints that the wording was sexist.

DCU SU Welfare Officer, Neil Collins told The College View he met with DCU Equality Office Director, Paul Smith, to discuss the poster after he received emails from students complaining about it.

Smith advised Collins the word ‘sexiest’ was more suitable to use. “As far as everyone is concerned, ‘sexiest’ is more gender balanced.” The SU have not received complaints over the wording on the poster since it was changed.

Collins told The College View that the controversial advert was never actually printed and only ever appeared on the site. The wording had been changed before the posters were printed and went on display on campus.

Students also took to the online forum, Boards.ie to complain about the ‘sexist’ advert. The initial comment was posted by user ‘Hawshand Redemption’
who said: “The campaign for this year’s Halloween Ball is disturbingly sexist.

I know we have an all male SU exec, but we should still expect a higher standard than this. For many students this will be their first major college event and to be encouraged to behave in this manner is extremely inappropriate and offensive.”

Collins told The College View he was not aware of the discussion on the site.
Many students on the forum felt a prize for the ‘sluttiest’ costume was the result of an all male executive. Collins told The College View the SU had no input in the design or wording of the poster. He said Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator, Emer Fitzgerald is responsible for designing the adverts. Collins said he does not see the images used or the wording for the adverts prior to them being published online and printed on posters.

Although Collins had nothing to do with the posters, he accepts the SU had a responsibility. “I’m not pushing the blame at all, it was a mistake made by the Students’ Union and we all take part of the blame. Maybe we should have all looked at it.”

Collins said the SU would look at posters prior to being published in future to ensure it won’t happen again.

Aoife Mullen

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