University of Minnesota: Christmas guidelines ‘ill-advised’
- A set of guidelines distributed by an employee within a department of the University of Minnesota was unofficial and "ill-advised," the university says.
- The guidelines urged readers to "[c]onsider neutral-themed parties," and declared decorations should be "general, and not specific to any one religion."
The University of Minnesota has condemned a recent document that discouraged a host of holiday practices, saying its creation was “ill-advised.”
As Campus Reform recently reported, the school’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Sciences (CFANS) put out a set of recommendations that encouraged its employees to “recognize holidays in ways that are respectful of the diversity of our community.”
“Consider neutral-themed parties, such as ‘winter celebration,’” the flyer suggested, adding that “decorations, music, and food should be general and not specific to any one religion,” even discouraging the use of “bows” and “wrapped gifts.”
Susan Thurston Hamerski, media contact for CFANS, told Campus Reform at the time that the guidelines were used for conversations among faculty and staff, claiming that they are “not policy” and “not for distribution.”
Now, the university itself is taking additional measures to distance itself from the document, saying that “the actions of a single employee, whose attempt at a diversity training session was, to be blunt, ill advised,” and “does not constitute a policy on the part of the university.”
“We do not have such a policy, would never implement such a policy, and any representation otherwise is incorrect,” the university told Campus Reform in a statement. “Again, the University of Minnesota does not have a Religious and Diversity Holiday policy and has no intention of introducing such a policy.”
Becket, a religious liberty law firm, blasted the gudielines , even going so far as to award the department an Ebenezer Award, the “lowest (dis)honor, awarded for the most ridiculous affront to the Christmas and Hanukkah season.”
“A hearty bah-humbug toast to University officials who make Christian and Jewish students feel like second class citizens at a time that should be full of brotherly love and giving,” said Becket Executive Director Montse Alvarado.