‘Anti-discrimination’ Sheff SU president candidate wore Native American costume
Exclusive: On a Halloween night out
A Uni of Sheffield students’ union president candidate vowing to “fight discrimination in all its forms” has dressed up as a Native American on a night out.
Fleur Delugar, one of four students running for SU president, was pictured in the indigenous costume – complete with face paint and robes – at a Halloween party, The Tab Sheffield can reveal.
This is despite the same SU declaring last Halloween that dressing up as indigenous people constitutes “cultural appropriation” and should be banned.
Now Delugar’s rivals have criticised her apparent hypocrisy, as the contest descends into a race row less than 24 hours after the runners were announced.
In her manifesto, along with calling for Disney films each week at the SU, Delugar pledges to “fight discrimination in all its forms” and brands herself “fancy-dress mad”.
But on a night out as a second-year in October 2018, she grinned for photos as she showed off her Native American costume with feathers and beads, a mock-up of the traditional dress worn by tribes on the American plains before they were killed in a mass white-led genocide.
Just before Halloween last year, the SU ran a “my culture is not your costume” campaign that featured indigenous clothing and sombreros as examples of racist costumes that, officials suggested, should be banned.
Rosa Tully, the SU women’s officer, declared at the time: “We have produced these posters reminding you this Halloween to consider whether your costume mocks or demeans another person’s race, culture or disability.”
Delugar’s rivals have blasted her for apparent hypocrisy. Dom Fairbrass, a third-year med student who is running against her for president, told The Tab Sheffield: “I think this can best be described as a Trudeau [black-face scandal] moment.
“Given how Fleur describes herself as ‘fancy-dress-mad’, it does make you wonder about other potential costume skeletons in her closet.”
He claimed that “it shows a profound disregard for the history surrounding colonialism in North America which in my mind should not be used as a source of mockery. Hopefully her decision is the result of extreme ignorance as opposed to something more sinister.”
Joshua Glicklich, a second-year maths student also standing for president, added: “When I learned of The Tab Sheffield’s information on this incident this morning, I was disappointed. All forms of discrimination and racism are unacceptable even in the smallest instances.
“From history, we have learned that even by adding the smallest amount of fuel to the fire you can seriously do some harm to those around you. I think this incident, although I believe it was an ill-informed mistake, shows a clash between Fleur’s words and her actions.”
It comes ahead of a debate between the presidential candidates tonight. Runners for the eight SU officer positions were announced on Monday and voting opens next week.
Jake Verity, the current SU president, refused to address whether an investigation would be launched into the incident, but said: “The elections are a cross-campus ballot in which any full member of the Students’ Union can stand for a position.
“Candidates can express views that may not necessarily be shared by the Students’ Union. The role of the Students’ Union in this election is to ensure the democratic process is fairly and properly conducted.”
Delugar declined to comment.