Pelican Magazine has recently uncovered that UWA’s Social Club Lesuire, has decided upon a theme change of its “flagship” semester one party to be hosted on March 8.
From this point onwards, ‘Mexicana’ will be now known as the Wild West theme, ‘Texicana’. Although, at this stage, it is not exactly clear what this means in practise. Established in 1992, Leisure UWA has found a notable place in campus culture, hosting events including pub crawls, raves and toga parties. Their famous event Mexicana has been a longstanding tradition since 1995. Leisure’s current President, Fergus Youds, had this to say to Pelican regarding the change.
“The student culture around UWA has seen a rapid shift from when a lot of us first got involved. These changes demand a touch of innovation, especially from older, more established clubs like Leisure.”
It is important to note that in previous years Leisure UWA has received criticisms for its event, ‘Mexicana’. This is largely due to the UWA Student Guild’s Equity and Diversity Guide for Clubs and Societies which states that organisers should “consider the unintended result of using a popular racial or cultural theme”. Also, necessitating that theyensure that events do not “rely on stereotypes or inaccurate and offensive depictions of that culture.”
Unfortunately for Leisure UWA, in years past some students have taken offence to the nature of the event. Mexicana relies on cultural stereotypes, such as ponchos and sombreros in a western setting, essentially cultural appropriation. Despite the controversy it is important to note that last year the Hispaniac University Group (HUG) issued a statement to Pelican citing mixed reactions.
“We here at HUG love a great party and having fun with our friends. Members of our committee have attended previous Mexicana parties and our experiences have been good and passed without complaint. However, we do acknowledge the problematic aspects of the annual Mexicana party.”
In his statement to Pelican, Youds went to say that the decision to change the theme was not taken lightly,
“The committee and I spent a long time deliberating over it…We support keeping our traditions, but revision is also necessary to stay relevant.”
Youds, appearing optimistic for the event, also added,
“the only thing left to do now is have an awesome Texicana, and we can’t wait to see you there!”
At these early stages, however, it remains unclear whether or not this significant theme change is a direct response to the criticism received in recent years.
Words by Campus Editor, Cameron Carr
Featured Image by EyeCandy Australia