MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota is under criticism over a memo warning students and employees to avoid the use of decorations, music and food “a certain religion” on the campus holiday parties, including christmas trees, menorahs and images of Santa Claus.
The Dec. 6 memo distributed among students and staff of the university agricultural college, the Star Tribune reported . In addition to warning against the inclusion of jolly Saint Nick in a party theme, the school listed dreidels, pigeons, and the colors red and green as inappropriate.
The memo was posted online and triggered pushback on the university’s Facebook page, eliciting reactions such as “Boo!” and “looking for a safe space and get it.”
School spokesman Evan Lapiska said the clearance wrongly portrayed in the memo, as the official policy of the university. He said that the only shared during a lunch-hour discussion for students, faculty and staff in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences.
“It was a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to spark a dialogue,” he said.
Lapiska said that the idea of a ban on the aforementioned symbols “is not something that the university would once again consider whether or not, in any way, shape, or form as a potential policy.”
He also pointed out that the campus of the university is decorated around the holidays. President Eric Kaler has an appearance with Santa at the university cancer center.
“Certainly, there will be a conversation, if it has not already taken place, to see how we can learn from this moving forward and to prevent a situation like this in the future,” Lapiska said.