A parade of University of Virginia students filmed a YouTube video recently that praised a row of twinkling Christmas trees and other holiday fare adorning a row of front porches along the school’s famed Lawn dorms and pitched administrators to let the decorations stay -but alas- campus officials told students to pack it up.
The Cavalier Daily, the university’s student newspaper, reports that students took down the festive decor this week after threats from school officials, who cited safety hazards and strict housing regulations as the reason for their demands.
The Christmas trees, stockings, wreaths, Christmas cards and other decorations were put up in front of dormroom doors and archways after Thanksgiving, and several students in the YouTube video said they went out of their way to walk along the row of decorations, saying it made them feel happy and festive.
The dorms in question are part of the university’s famed “Lawn rooms.” The university’s website states “it is considered an honor … to live in one of the prestigious Lawn rooms. Located in Mr. Jefferson’s original buildings, these rooms are truly in the center of the university.”
With that, there’s a strict set of guidelines regarding Lawn dorms, overseen by the school’s Housing and Residence Life department. According to The Cavalier Daily, the department’s officials were concerned the trees and their twinkling lights posed a “safety hazard” and also broke the rules regarding what’s allowed to be posted outside the rooms.
The paper reported students “took the trees down earlier this week after housing threatened to charge residents for the trees’ removal if the residents didn’t remove them first.”
Students were upset about being forced to take down their trees, as well as the fact that campus housing officials didn’t even give students a chance to plead their case; meanwhile, a housing official said students could erect trees in an alcove elsewhere on campus, the Cavalier reports.
The trees, before their removal, had been placed along the Lawn’s “Bachelor’s Row,” which represents a wide array of religious affiliations, including Christians, agnostics and Jews, Lawn resident and senior Brad Whitwell told The Cavalier Daily.
Student responses to the trees’ removal have been largely negative, the student newspaper reports, with one student telling the Cavalier: “It’s just killing the vibe of Christmas.”
The YouTube video students posted prior to the Christmas tree eviction was titled “Bachelor’s Row Holiday Spirit.” As the video begins, the camera pans along the row of twinkling decorations as Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas” rolls in the background.
The video then cuts to a series of student interviews in which they defend the display as they stand before it.
“The holiday cheer … is wonderful,” one student clad in a suit and tie gushed in the video. “To hear they’re in danger is absolutely horrifying.”
Quipped another: “They are absolutely fabulous. It brightens up the whole Lawn. As a UVa student who walks around here at night, it totally makes my day. It should absolutely stay.”
Click here to read The Cavalier Daily’s full article.
Watch the video: