This time of the year, UT is probably making their end of year appeals to alumni urging them to support their alma marta. If I were a UT alumni they would not get a dime of my money. Do you really want to contribute to a university that bans Christmas?
UT recently issued a statement from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion which told the UT community to "Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise." Certainly baby Jesus is not welcome at UT "holiday" parties, but even Ole Saint Nick is not welcome; do not play "Secret Santa," says the memo. Tinsel and egg nog are suspect. UT not only wants of be religious-free zone but also a culture-free zone. Has the world gone mad! Are they nuts!
This follows the attempt a few weeks ago of UT to ban pronouns such as "his" and "hers," in favor of "zirs" and "xyr." (link) Maybe it is time for a new chancellor and new president. Maybe the Board of Trustees need to be replaced. I think it is time for the State legislature to slash the budget of UT by the amount of funding it takes to staff the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. If such nuttiness continues, the legislature should make deeper budget cuts. This is just unacceptable.
Below is copy of the UT memo:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If sending holiday cards to campus and community partners, send a non-denominational card or token of your gratitude.
- 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.