University of Maryland Students Call Out Cinco de Mayo Dining Hall Costume Gaffe

While national news channels had their own #CincoDeFallo moments, a Twitter tip from college student Maria Fernanda Andia @mfaeb also got our attention:

Andia’s tweets led to a story by The Diamondback, an independent newspaper at the University of Maryland:

Maria Fernanda Andia and Ulysses Muñoz sat in the South Campus Dining Hall eating together Monday when they noticed several Dining Services employees wearing sombreros and fake mustaches.

You can read the full story here. You really need to read it. According to the article, Andia and Muñoz were told they couldn’t take any more pictures because they “could not distract the employees during their shifts but could speak with them when they go on break as long as they were willing.” The article also went on to mention that “Dining Services does not force its employees to wear costumes for this celebration or any others throughout the year.

The complaint was then emailed to Dining Services spokesman Bart Hipple:

Hipple said he received the email and did not hear from any concerned students, but he saw tweets from students — including Andia — about the stereotypes implied by the costumes. He said Dining Services meant nothing offensive by the celebration and that the diners hold several special dinner nights throughout the semester with decorations and simple costumes for the employees to wear.

However, Hipple said, these celebrations could be temporary because they are meant to be something unique for students to enjoy but might get too repetitive over the years.

Hipple plans to bring up this issue at the next Residence Hall Association Dining Services Advisory Board meeting to determine whether other people were insulted and did not speak up, he said.

Andia said she did not find the food and recognition of the holiday offensive, but she felt the costumes were not an accurate representation of the Latino culture.

“Because no one says anything, no one knows it’s offensive, and it just continues,” she said.

We couldn’t agree more with that last quote.

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