The Union have been providing ‘racist’ sombreros as fancy dress in LCR photobooth

Pedro’s were banned from doing the same thing at Freshers’ Fair

cultural appropriation lcr pedros racism racist sombrero sombrerogate tequila uea

UEA Students’ Union have been providing comedy sombreros for students to wear – despite banning them and labelling them cultural appropriation at the Freshers’ Fair.

Just two weeks ago the Union said sombreros handed out by tex-mex restaurant Pedro’s were “racist”, banning them from the Fresher’s Fair for violating clear advertising policies.

However The Tab can reveal that Union-run club nights have been putting on a photobooth in which, up until recently, fancy dress items provided include sombreros.

Is this culturally appropriate?

A screenshot of one of the LCR’s public Facebook albums

Campaigns and Democracy Officer Chris Jarvis said:  “The photobooth, which was hosted in the LCR by an external company during Welcome Week, had its sombreros withdrawn midweek in pursuit of union policy when relevant officials were made aware.”

While the sombreros have been removed from the photobooth, fez hats can still be worn.

Chris offered no comment when we queried the Union’s culturally appropriating other races such as the Irish (with leprechaun hats and ginger beards) on St Paddy’s Day. You can see photos of the SU choice of props here.

The photobooth also features in other themed nights across the year, and sombreros and fez hats have been staple features in Union dressing-up kits.

Further investigation into the Union’s hypocritical use of sombreros was damning – the SU shop was seen selling sombrero-wearing tequila bottles as well as sombrero-adorned sandwiches.


We investigated and found novelty sombreros in the Union

Chris added: “Following feedback from students and the recognition of the fine line between cultural appropriation and celebration, students will debate and determine future implementation of the policy at Student Council on Thursday 15th October, building on discussions held by the Black and Minority Ethnic Students’ caucus.”

There have been further hypocritical incidents on campus as well, after the Touch Rugby club had their sombreros removed on a social on Saturday October 10.

President Charles Unsworth said:  “Some of our club members were on a fancy dress night out. They went to the red bar and were asked to leave by the security or have the sombreros confiscated, so they left. There was no issue or foul play as far as I’m aware.

“The security guys told them would take the sombreros away until they left the bar, they gave them back once they left, they didn’t have them in the LCR – it was only in the red bar.”


Does this look culturally appropriate?

After banning the sombreros, Chris had originally said: “We know that when it comes to cultural appropriation the issues can sometimes be difficult to understand and many don’t realise that they may be about to cause offence or break a policy.”

Unfortunately for them, it looks like they broke their own policy before Pedro’s did.