Claiming to be committed to diversity, UT university’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion posted an online advisory for the upcoming holiday celebrations, including Christmas. Though the university doesn’t have an official policy currently in place, they offered ‘suggestions‘ regarding religious/cultural décor and celebrations. See below:
The university does not have an official policy regarding religious and cultural décor and celebration in the workplace. However, we are fully committed to a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive environment.
In addition to consulting our cultural and religious holidays calendar when selecting a date for your event, we encourage you to implement the following best practices for inclusive holiday celebrations.
- Holiday parties and celebrations should celebrate and build upon workplace relationships and team morale with no emphasis on religion or culture. Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.
Based on the fact that the majority of American citizens describe themselves as Christians, it would be impossible for those believers not to include the birth of their Savior. Jesus Christ is the reason of their celebrations. Their joy is not meant to offend, but to glorify and share the Good News with all men.
- Consider having a New Year’s party and include décor and food from multiple religions and cultures. Use it as an opportunity to reinvigorate individuals for the new year’s goals and priorities.
This suggestion is contradicting as the previous advised to host events with no emphasis on religion or culture.
- Supervisors and managers should not endorse, or be perceived as endorsing, religion generally or a specific religion.
- If an individual chooses not to participate in a holiday party or celebration, do not pressure the person to participate. Participation should be voluntary.
Agree. Participation in the celebration or adherence to the observance of another’s religion should never be mandatory. Nor should any person be forced to participate in any practices observed by other faiths, as was the case for Christians and others during Ramadan held in majority Muslim nations.
- If a potluck-style party or celebration is planned, encourage employees to bring food items that reflect their personal religions, cultures, and celebrations. Use this as an opportunity for individuals to share what they brought and why it is meaningful to them.
This could be confusing per the first given suggestion.
- If sending holiday cards to campus and community partners, send a non-denominational card or token of your gratitude.
Our advice would be if you receive something you deem offensive, throw it away.
- Holiday parties and celebrations should not play games with religious and cultural themes–for example, “Dreidel” or “Secret Santa.” If you want to exchange gifts, then refer to it in a general way, such as a practical joke gift exchange or secret gift exchange.
- Décor selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture. Identify specific dates when décor can be put up and when it must come down.
- Refreshment selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture.
- Most importantly, celebrate your religious and cultural holidays in ways that are respectful and inclusive of our students, your colleagues, and our university.
In this video press conference, the Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion, Rickey Hall explains why his office decided to discourage any form of “Christmas party in disguise.”
Political figures called the suggestions “extremist”, “ridiculously overboard” and an example of political correctness run amok. Some even called for the school’s Chancellor to resign.
If the youth or people in this nation have become so thin-skinned that they are offended, or that their safe place has been violated by a Christmas party, as the first line of advice suggests, which is celebrated by the majority in our nation, the future of our country is in trouble and there will be no tolerance. If you don’t agree with or prefer to not take part in a particular holiday celebration, DON’T GO! Let’s stop this nonsense.