- - Friday, December 4, 2015

The University of Tennessee desires to be one of the top 25 public research universities in the United States.

We should commend them for that goal.

But it seems some in the administration believe that goal cannot be met as long as there is a “lack of diversity” at the university. And when university educrats strategize for diversity, it means two things:

  1. spending tax dollars on diversity initiatives
  2. paying a “vice chancellor for diversity” to pen “suggestions” (though being careful to not call them official policy) for the faculty, staff, and students to follow when planning parties.

Never mind the fact that over 80% of Tennesseans identify as Christian, the Office of Diversity for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville has given counsel to everyone planning December parties, reminding them to “Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.”

This is the same Office for Diversity made famous earlier this year for pushing the use of the pronouns “Ze, Zir, and Xyr” instead of “him” and “her.”

Now, they’ve written up a list of 10 suggested “Best Practices for Inclusive Holiday Celebrations in the Workplace,” in keeping with the tradition of Moses receiving 10 commandments from God on tablets of stone. (Am I allowed to mention “Moses” or “God”?)

  • 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.

This is what $5.5 million in taxpayer dollars will get you when doled out to the aforementioned Office of Diversity.

Tennesseans, you paid for this!

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