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UNLV law school apologizes for using word ‘picnic,’ changes it to ‘Lunch by the Lake’

A scheduled “picnic” sponsored by the University of Nevada Las Vegas law school’s Environmental Law Society has been renamed “Lunch by the Lake” due to “diversity and inclusion” concerns.

According to a memo obtained by Libs of TikTok, the law group informed members that the word “picnic” has “historical and offensive connotations,” and apologized for “any harm or discomfort” caused by its use.

The group’s view mirrors that of the University of Michigan’s IT department from several years ago: “Picnic” was included in a “Words Matter Task Force’s” list of offensive words and phrases along with “brown bag,” “blacklist” and “long time, no see” among others.

At the time, Reuters did a fact check on the alleged offensiveness of “picnic”; its verdict: It “does not originate from racist lynchings” but instead comes from the 300-plus-year-old French word “pique-nique,” meaning a potluck-like social gathering.

The UNLV event memo even uses “potluck” (pictured).

Still, Reuters claimed 19th and 20th-century lynchings of black Americans “often occurred in gatherings that could be referred to as picnics.” But a PolitiFact article noted the term historians actually use is “spectacle lynchings” — where people “took photographs and looked for souvenirs.”

Ferris State University’s David Pilgrim, curator of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, said “it’s possible someone used the word ‘picnic’ to refer to lynchings, but ‘what we know for a fact is that’s not where the word ‘picnic’ came from.'”


In 2021, a student group at Brandeis University ended up deleting “picnic” from a list of “oppressive” words and phrases in response to massive mockery.

The College Fix asked UNLV Environmental Law Society President Julianna Ness precisely how “picnic” is offensive; she did not respond.

The Fix has long documented universities’ word policing; other terms considered offensive over the last few years include “chief,” “step,” “ladies and gentlemen,” “snowflake,” “brainstorm” and “American.”

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MORE: UCI language guide: Avoid ‘kill two birds with one stone,’ use ‘feed two birds with one scone’

IMAGES: Krakenimages/Shutterstock.com; Libs of TikTok/X

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.