Organizers censor ‘vulgar content’ at WC


Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros
Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Seven days of Winter Carnival festivities drew to a close Saturday night.

The annual event, which is celebrated at Wilfrid Laurier University at the beginning of each winter semester, gives upper-year students the opportunity to relive the excitement and activity of orientation.

“Winter Carnival is an activity which has happened on our campus for 50 plus years,” said Waterloo campus dean of students, Leanne Holland Brown. “For the most part it has been a source of school spirit or a chance to connect students with different resources or people on campus.”

Though the Carnival has long reflected student culture and interests, a decision was made this year to eliminate any potentially insensitive, offensive or vulgar content.

The decision was made in response to the increasing number of cases of student misbehaviour across the nation, cases which brought their respective universities into the public eye.

“This year we decided to very much censor Winter Carnival, in terms of like nudity, sexual references, anything along those lines,” said Emily Harrod, Winter Carnival coordinator.

“There’s been so many mishaps at other schools that we don’t want to bring any negative publicity to Laurier.”

Holland Brown mentioned it would be hard to defend continuing Winter Carnival activities in the future if behaviour wasn’t acceptable, such as missing class.

However Harrod said there has been no threat of cancelling the event.

Winter Carnival executives and school administration cooperated on the initiative, with both sides having conferred throughout the fall term to ensure the seamless implementation of the new policy.

The result of this collaboration was a commitment on behalf of the dean of students to aid with the introduction and communication of information to all student participants.

“I made a commitment this year to both our vice-president of student affairs as well as our president that I would be involved, and that I would lend whatever support and guidance I could to make sure that students were supported and educated,” said Holland Brown.

“This provided me with the chance to speak with every single team who participated in Winter Carnival this year.”

Despite the heightened restrictions, the event managed to accomplish its aim of providing students with the opportunity to celebrate the commencement of a new semester.

“Winter Carnival is extremely important because it’s second semester,” said Harrod.

“Second semester tends to be a bit more stressful in terms of school and it’s nice for students to have a good atmosphere where they can just compete in events with their friends, and hang out and just have an absolutely amazing time.”

Far from hampering the festivities, the changes were welcomed by many, with the message of inclusivity and sensitivity sitting well with Laurier students and faculty.

“All it takes is one shirt, one social media post, one chant to undo a lot of the work that thousands of students who participated in Winter Carnival before them have helped build,” said Holland Brown. “It’s really just being mindful of what choices you’re making and how that reflects on you as students, and also on the university and how that makes other students feel.”

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