Marietta College removes Christmas ‘inclusion' tree amid mounting backlash
Marietta College’s diversity and inclusion office sponsored a Christmas tree with dozens of “lives matter” statements, including “White lives matter,” “poor lives matter,” “Black lives matter,” and “straight lives matter."
After facing significant backlash, the school's president said the tree would be removed.
Marietta College decorated a Christmas tree with dozens of “lives matter” statements, including “White lives matter,” “poor lives matter,” “Black lives matter,” and “straight lives matter.” After facing significant backlash, the school apologized.
The university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion adorned a Christmas tree in a Marietta, Ohio park. Inscribed on dozens of ornaments were several statements affirming the existence of various groups, from “Black lives matter” and “Female lives matter” to “Old lives matter” and “Disabled lives matter.”
However, the tree also featured the phrases “White lives matter,” “Male lives matter,” “Straight lives matter,” “Able-bodied lives matter,” and “Rich lives matter.”
The university faced significant backlash over social media as a result.
— rip-n-tearantino (@reedusthefeetus) December 1, 2020
Bringing it to Twitter Bc I don’t know if anyone else has
Marietta College purchased a Christmas tree in downtown Marietta and did THIS to it.
I know the MOV is pretty conservative but..... Yikes pic.twitter.com/2Dj1RRhXgK
— Danielle Thrasher (@DanielleThrash1) November 30, 2020
Oh wow. This is probably the worst thing I’ve seen in a week. https://t.co/xxKiiPVKVC
— Allie 🖤 (@_actright) November 30, 2020
Marietta College president Bill Ruud sent an email to the community in order to apologize.
An update from President Ruud. pic.twitter.com/6MPotqmTrM
— Marietta College (@MariettaCollege) December 1, 2020
“Clearly, we missed the mark in choosing this medium to have a serious discussion about inclusivity and we apologize,” wrote Ruud. “We have decided to remove the tree from the display. We are an educational institution, and like our students, we are always learning.”
According to the Marietta Times, MJ Ebenhack — a member of the Mid-Ohio Valley Interfaith Council and wife of Marietta Professor Ben Ebenhack — stated that she saw the chance to sponsor a tree as a way to be “anti-racist.”
“I’ve been involved in a couple of book studies (including) How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi … with his argument that we’re called to be more than just non-racist, we’re called to be antiracist, and I’m currently in another study at our church that is looking at the church’s complicity in racism,” Ebenhack told the Marietta Times.
Marietta College directed Campus Reform to Ruud’s email.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft