Cultural appropriation in fashion has been a contentious issue for years at summer music festivals, but at Western University, it is also a prominent issue during orientation week. At Western, orientation leaders traditionally differentiate themselves from the incoming students by wearing an unusual uniform, such as tying bandanas around their faces or wearing dreadlock wigs.
After receiving many complaints from students about the discomfort these uniform choices were causing, the orientation organizing committee has banned the wearing of cultural symbols, such as dreadlock wigs, hijabs, turbans, or Aboriginal headdresses, as long as they are not a part of the student’s daily cultural expression.
Not all student reactions to the restrictions were positive. While not all students view the costume tradition as cultural appropriation, the orientation organizers assert that the rules are meant to ensure all new students feel welcome.
— Enxhi Kondi
With files from the Toronto Star