Controversy in Tennessee on Holiday Party Guidance

December 4, 2015

Some conservative politicians in Tennessee are calling for the resignation of Jimmy Cheek, chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, because of guidance about holiday parties, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The guidance -- from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion -- suggests that "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." Another recommendation: "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."

Critics say that this advice is anti-Christian and that the chancellor should resign. University officials noted that the guidance was not mandatory and that the numerous Christmas trees on campus show that Christmas has not -- as some have suggested -- been banned at the institution.

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