UT Sees Backlash Over Holiday 'Best Practices"

Posted at 11:22 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-04 00:22:47-05

The University of Tennessee’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion has released a list of best practices for inclusive holiday celebrations to provide a "diverse, welcoming, and inclusive environment."

The university does not have an official policy regarding religious and cultural decor and celebration in the workplace. Yet, the 10-point list encouraged students to avoid focusing on religious and cultural themes during the holiday season.

The first point emphasized the importance of holiday parties, that help build workplace relationships and team moral. It encouraged students, faculty, and staff to do so by ensuring "your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise."

The 'best practices' have received backlash from the public and Tennessee Congressman John Duncan. He recently criticized the list on Fox News. He called it "ridiculous" and the reaction "extremism."

WVLT in Knoxville reported the University's response saying:

"As noted in the first line of the best practices web post, the university does not have an official policy regarding religious and cultural décor and celebrations in the workplace. We are fully committed to a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive environment. We recognize that our campus community and its members observe various religions and faiths. Our campus has numerous holiday parties and celebrations and we do not monitor these activities. We honor Christmas as one of the celebrations of the season and the birth of Jesus, and the corresponding Christmas observance is one of the Christian holidays on our cultural and religious holidays calendar."

To see all 10-points visit the Office for Diversity's webpage