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University memo: wrapped gifts, Santa, Christmas trees ‘not appropriate’

Memo points readers to ‘Bias Incident Website’ to lodge complaints 

A memo provided to some University of Minnesota community members at a recent event dedicated to discussing how to make the holiday season on campus more inclusive warns against Santa, Christmas trees, wrapped gifts and the colors “red and green,” calling them “not appropriate.”

The recommendations were circulated at a recent “Dean’s Dialogues” event hosted by the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences focused on “respecting religious diversity.”

The “Religious Diversity and Holidays” memo lists about a dozen separate items it says should not be used, asserting they represent “religious iconography.”

The items, which the document describes as “not appropriate,” include bows, bells, depictions of Santa Claus, Christmas trees, wrapped gifts, nativity scenes, the star of Bethlehem, dreidels, angels and doves. Also included are decorations themed around the colors of red and green or blue and white.

“Red and green are representative of the Christian tradition as blue and white/silver are for Jewish Hanukkah that is also celebrated at this time of year,” the document states.

Those on campus can put up religious decorations “in their own personal space if it does not have a meaningful public function,” the memo states. Though, it adds such decor should not be put up in public spaces such as reception areas and kitchens.

The document was first reported on by Intellectual Takeout, a media nonprofit based in Minnesota. The organization received a copy of the memo from a University of Minnesota employee.

Reached for comment by The College Fix, University of Minnesota spokeswoman Emma Bauer called the memo a “conversation piece to facilitate dialogue” at the inclusion event.

“It was not distributed broadly to [College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences] employees. It does not reflect current University of Minnesota, EOAA (Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action) or CFANS official guidance,” Bauer said.

Jon Miltimore, senior editor for Intellectual Takeout and author of its article on the document, told The College Fix he’s glad to hear the university is distancing itself from the memo.

“But I’d be interested in how such a document was created, approved, and disseminated to department staff in the first place,” he said.

In addition to the recommendations on decorations, the “Religious Diversity and Holidays” document encourages campus holiday parties remain “neutral-themed,” by employing titles like “winter celebration.”

With that in mind, the document also says such celebrations should avoid any music, decorations, food or invitations that have ties with a certain religion. The office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action stated that it would provide “additional support and problem solving” for any employees who reached out against “inappropriate religious celebrations” in the workplace.

The memo even points readers to lodge a complaint using the “Bias Incident Website.”

The University of Minnesota is not the first public university to establish directives regarding Christmas celebrations. In 2015, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee developed a list of “best practices” that to community members to “ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.”

MORE: University says ‘ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise’

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About the Author
Nathan Rubbelke is a staff reporter for The College Fix with a specialty on investigative and enterprise reporting. He has also held editorial positions at The Commercial Review daily newspaper in Portland, Indiana, as well as at The Washington Examiner, Red Alert Politics and St. Louis Public Radio. Rubbelke graduated from Saint Louis University, where he majored in political science and sociology.

Add to the Discussion

  • Ralph Kern

    So basically, Christians should not celebrate CHRISTMAS, Jews should not celebrate Channukah, but don’t dare stop any celebration of Ramadan….
    Got it….

    • Lashaniqua Johnson (St. Louis)

      Or Kwanzaa. Or Halloween.

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      • Michael Quinlan

        You can’t celebrate Halloween! How dare you?! There’s too much of a chance to wear a costume that might be cultural appropriating. /sarc

        • Daisy

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    • MONAD

      Christmas isn’t EXCLUSIVELY Christian, bucko. Non Christians celebrate it.

      • Ralph Kern

        Not according to said university, … it is poor taste/triggering/ racist and Islamophobic to even say the word Christmas….

      • DixieRocker94

        Non Christians don’t celebrate the birth of Jesus.

      • Exscotticus

        True. The secular variant of Christmas is called “Xmas”. No references to baby Jesus in there.

  • Titus Andronicus

    What about Rudolf and Frosty? Are they religious icons?

    • Plowjogger1776

      Didn’t you hear? Rudolph is a racist!

  • Dr. Donny

    Just in case someone was foolish enough to think there were administrators at Minnesota or Tennessee that had a shred of intelligence, this crap would prove they were unfortunately mistaken. The main requirements for becoming a university administrator appear to be (1) incompetent to get a job outside of the academic world, (2) a PhD in some wimp humanities or social science major, (2) complete lack of ability to think critically or use complex reasoning, and (4) cave in to every student demand, no matter how ridiculous. Unfortunately, there appears to be an excessive amount of qualified candidates.

    • Timothy J. Williams

      I beg to differ. Please do not disparage the real humanities (literature, philosophy, history, etc.). Most university administrators have a Ph.D. in “human relations,” “public policy,” “leadership.” “education,” or some such nonsense. None of them are intelligent enough to get through a real academic program.

      • Dr. Donny

        Good point. Probably a PhD in fund raising and keeping donors happy is the main qualification.

    • George Avery

      We had a President at Purdue with an Engineering PhD – she is best known after leaving office for the number of new Vice Presidencies she created to give jobs to cronies being laid off by her former employer, the University of California – most of whom have since seen their jobs cut by new President Mitch Daniels. You can see idiots with STEM PhDs.

      • Dr. Donny

        STEM PhDs are unusual as Presidents outside of tech schools, but you are right – there are more than enough idiots around to populate university bureaucracies, including STEM types. Cheers.

      • Foxwater

        Fellow Boilermaker here, George, and I remember that well. She was a nightmare. Thank God Mitch is in now.

  • Richard Johnston

    This just in: University requires God attend sensitivity training for answering prayers for a white Christmas…

  • Frank Harrison

    What was the source of this “memo”? The office of the dean and, if so, which dean of what school? In any event, another result of post-modernism in places of “education,”

  • George Avery

    When I was a doctoral student over a decade ago, I was shocked to see how balkanized the University of Minnesota graduation ceremonies were — with may racially specific ceremonies. It was more segregated than most “conservative” campuses (although I will point out that my program, Health Services Research, was an island of sanity for those with conservative leanings).

  • So, if I understand this article correctly, the university is saying that the proper way to practice inclusion is through exclusion.

    • Plowjogger1776

      Orwell would be proud.

  • Doug McCall

    EOAA (Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action) …is there ANY other “term” MORE contradictory?

  • Foxwater

    If Christmas-oriented decorations are inappropriate this time of year because it represents “religious iconography,” then by that logic, wouldn’t banning a headscarf/burqa all year long be appropriate?

  • Sandy Claws

    Jebus Keerist!!! Enough with this SJW nonsense!!

    These cultural Marxists need to go fkk themselves.

  • Sandy Claws

    Real life Grinches

  • Sandy Claws

    Ha ha. My avatar is red and green and blue and white and has the very hateful “Merry Christmas”. ^_^

    Take that!!

  • gmartinz

    Honestly, if I was a student at a university, and this crap came down, I would show up for class the next day in a Santa outfit.

  • Joe Joe

    Welcome to the soft Cultural Revolution. The Communists have learned a lot since Mao.

  • I love Trump!!!

    Wonder if someone could make a living in a Grinch suit at some campus parties?

  • MerryMerryMillicent

    This is trampling on the rights of Christians in so many ways…

  • Plowjogger1776

    Sharia Supremecy Gestapo at work.

  • Leonard smith

    Amazing , watching the communists play a card for the Muslims and destroy the culture .

  • Jimmy__Russell

    ‘Not appropriate’ doesn’t mean may not.
    It’s just a letter by some less-than-worthless SJW propagandist getting paid $100K/year to say she will be triggered if people celebrate Christmas or Hannukah.
    Everybody should just mock it, then ignore.
    The horrible government school will come out looking a lot worse trying to repress Christmas by meting out punishments.

  • TxMedRgr

    The dismantling of Western culture and the destruction of Western society continues.

  • Kurt

    Why doesn’t the Left ever scold other nations for not being diverse? Why must America be so culturally sensitive, while most other nations are not?

  • John1838

    A spokeswoman called the memo a “conversation piece to facilitate dialogue” at the inclusion event.

    I suspect it’s as much of a “conversation piece to facilitate dialogue” as the Trump Administration’s “ban” of seven words/phrases was, except the latter apparently was a kerfuffle of pure vapor where as the former is spelled out in black and white.

  • echo sierra

    Obviously racist policies against Latino students who are majority Catholic.

  • traveler

    Indoctrination of the student base is a great way to influence, change and bring down a culture. They are the ‘up and coming’, the future; if you can get them identifying with anti-western cultural values it will be far easier to erode them. Muslims represent the antithesis of Christianity; the diabolical agendists are happy to promote them and do everything they can to make them more comfortable here. You cannot get a job in academia now without being a supporter of the anti-American cultural agenda. This needs to be fought now or we will lose a whole generation. It will probably come to bloodshed at some point; the left never gives up without power being wrested from them…

  • ¿Ï½ÄoÁÖ

    They can go fkk themselves

  • Churyl Minne

    In other words, don’t trigger the atheists or muslims.