KU bars gorillas from jungle-theme decoration due to 'masculine image'

An RA at the University of Kansas was advised against incorporating an image of a gorilla into a jungle-themed floor decoration because the animal apparently represents “a very masculine image.”

In an email obtained by Campus Reform, a university employee with the school’s student housing department writes to a resident advisor, who wishes to remain anonymous, to explain to him that he cannot use an image of a gorilla for a routine floor decoration.

“I think it would be best if your floor chose a different theme animal to be more inclusive,” Assistant Complex Director Dale Morrow wrote in an email at the start of this academic year. “First, gorillas represent a very masculine image, and I feel that this would not be inclusive to all of our residents on that floor.”

Morrow went on to add that images of a gorilla could reinforce “stereotypes,” but fails to stipulate exactly what sorts of stereotypes he is referring to.

“Second, this animal could be triggering to some people as their [sic] are stereotypes that surround this animal,” he continued, noting that all the RA would need to change “is the picture and the words.”

An acquaintance of the RA, who also wishes to remain anonymous, explained to Campus Reform that the gorilla was used as part of a jungle-themed decoration for a hallway, and was not put up as a solitary image.

UPDATE: KU responded to Campus Reform's inquiry, saying Morrow, an assistant complex director, "does not speak for our housing department," and noting that it "seems reasonable that students would post photos of animals as part of a jungle-themed decoration." 

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