University of New Hampshire Shifts from Cinco de Mayo to Unity Day - NECN
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University of New Hampshire Shifts from Cinco de Mayo to Unity Day

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    NEWSLETTERS

    UNH Cutting Down on Cinco de Mayo Celebrations

    UNH Launching Day of Service on Cinco de Mayo: Unity Day.

    (Published Friday, May 4, 2018)

    After controversy-filled Cinco de Mayo celebrations at the University of New Hampshire in recent years, the school is hoping to refocus the day this year to community service, calling it Unity Day.

    The shift comes after many felt racist activities dominated last year's celebrations on May 5.

    While the administration is hopeful for a day of giving, some students are skeptical.

    "I think it’s more of a duct tape fix," said Josh Velez, a third-year student at UNH.

    Velez believes Unity Day is a temporary fix for what some students believe is a much bigger problem.

    "I'm not Latino, but like I definitely see and can understand why a lot of people who are of that descent are offended by these events," UNH student Jake Ladipo said.

    Last year's events on UNH campus were filled with day drinking and what some called racially insensitive themes or cultural appropriation.

    "The wearing of the sarapes and the sombreros," UNH Dean of Students Ted Kirkpatrick said. "There were slogans used nationally, 'Cinco De Drinko.'"

    In response to this, the administration has come up with a far different slogan: Unity Day, a day for everyone to come together and serve rather than party.

    Some of the efforts will include: Organic Garden Field Clean-Up, Painting at UNH Police Department, Spring Cleaning at UNH Observatory.

    Not all students are on board with the proposed shift.

    "The problem for me with Unity Day is that it is just a fix for this year," Velez said.

    This year Unity Day falls on Cinco de Mayo. In the future, the day of service will be on the last Saturday before classes end.

    Classes this semester end on Monday at UNH.

    "I wish that some of the projects were more closely focused on giving back to the people who have really suffered as a result of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the past couple of years," Velez said. 

    The Durham Chief of Police David Kurz issued a statement, saying, "We have developed an Operational Plan which includes the hiring of additional staff from several neighboring communities including the N.H. State Police."

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