Universities across the country are telling students and staff that they should avoid basically anything holiday-related in their seasonal displays and parties — including even certain color combinations — in order to ensure “inclusivity.”
It’s bad — and these three schools may be the worst:
1. Cornell University
Cornell University has some pretty infantilizing guidelines for a school supposedly attended by our brightest and most capable minds. They declared that no one should hang mistletoe, and it’s not even for the reason you might think, (which would be, of course, because mistletoe pressures people to kiss which perpetuates rape culture and sexual assault and no one would be safe.)
Nope, the reason is even more ridiculous than that: Mistletoe is associated with Christmas, and non-Christian students could obviously be traumatized by having to see Christmas-related things during Christmastime.
Other items in this category included trees decorated with any kind of religious anything (it did clarify that trees with bows, garlands, or lights were allowed “But Should be Basis of Dialogue Within Unit or Living Area,” whatever the hell that means), as well as angels, trees with stars on top, and menorahs.
“University members are reminded to be respectful of the religious diversity of our students and colleagues and are encouraged to use an inclusive approach . . . focusing on the winter season rather than a particular holiday,” it advised.
By the way, the “Guidelines for the Display of Religious Symbols” and “Guidelines for Inclusive Seasonal Displays” were included in a document titled “Fire Safety Guidelines for Holidays Decorations [sic],” which could technically suggest that they’re saying mistletoe would also be a fire hazard. Perhaps they don’t realize that you actually don’t need to douse mistletoe in gasoline over an open flame before hanging it.
To be fair, the university did say it was okay for students to “privately” place religious-related items in their own rooms. (Yes – “privately.” So, like where? Inside of their pillow cases and under their beds?)
2. University of Tennessee–Knoxville
UT–Knoxville openly stated that its so-called “Best Practices for Inclusive Holiday Celebrations in the Workplace” was not an official policy, but a way to show that the school is “fully committed to a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive environment.”
“Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise,” it advises. (After all, you know how sneaky and insidious people can be with their holiday spirit!)
The document recommended including “food and decor from multiple religions” — which was actually a bit confusing, considering that the guidelines later stated that “refreshment selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture.”
It also advised that you not call Secret Santa “Secret Santa,” but instead something like “practical joke gift exchange” or “secret gift exchange,” neither of which really have the same ring to it. Games of Dreidel were deemed totally offensive no matter what you called them.
“Consider having a New Year’s party and include décor and food from multiple religions and cultures,” it suggested. “Use it as an opportunity to reinvigorate individuals for the new year’s goals and priorities.”
Yes… a snowflake-themed life-coaching session! How fun!
3. Ohio State University
Ohio State described its guidelines as a “living document” of suggestions for how to avoid showing “disrespect or disregard for the religious beliefs or nonbeliefs of our students and colleagues.
“Decorations and food should be general and not privilege any religion,” it stated.
#related#So, you know, keep your sugar cookies blank. Probably a good idea. After all, whenever I see one of those Pillsbury “Ready To Bake!” Christmas tree-printed sugar cookies, the first thing I do is get upset about how brutally disrespected I’ve been.
It did state that bows were kind of okay, but “preferably not red and green” ones — which seems to be taking it a bit far. Seeing red and green can be pretty traumatizing, but I feel like a simple sign outside of the party saying “Trigger Warning: You may encounter red and green at this party!” would probably be enough.
The guidelines were previously covered in an article on Campus Reform.