DCUSU was criticised by students Saturday night after an Instagram story on the DCUSU official account showed two VPs dressed in long robes and keffiyeh head scarves.
Podge Henry VP for Equality and Welfare has called an Instagram post “lapse in judgement” and a “terrible mistake” after students said it was an example of cultural appropriation.
VP for Education and Training Mathew Davey was also in the post, which was removed early Sunday morning.
“It’s something that as a union we agreed was a terrible mistake,” said DCUSU President Niall Behan. “[The Student’s Union] wants to re-evaluate the way we carry ourselves and our social media policies.”
The picture was taken Saturday night at a house party attended by the three SU officers. The event was fancy dress and Henry said he arrived without a costume and put on one that was already at the house.
“It was an impulsive moment,” said Henry. “There wasn’t any thought at the time that it could be offensive and we immediately took down the photos once we realised that people were offended and are so sorry and want to apologise to anyone that was offended by our actions.”
“The reason I am bringing this up with DCU is because it was promoted through an official DCU account and by employees, hence DCU as a whole could be held reliable, could be associated and/or labelled as being offensive, inconsiderate and racist accordingly,” said a DCU student who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the issue.
“And to me, this gives off the impression that DCU and its student body accepts and promotes the appropriation of culture and this is unacceptable in every way and form.”
“I am not trying to throw shade at anyone, but when it’s on the official [SU] Instagram story, it’s really bad,” said the student.
Henry stressed that it was never their intent to hurt or offend anyone and that “cultural appropriation is something we need to be more aware of in the future”.
Behan said in direct response to the post, the SU wants to launch a campaign on cultural appropriation awareness to prevent similar incidences in the future.
The incident has been dealt with within the SU under SU guidelines.
Image Credit: Instagram