‘U’ should make clear it does not hate Santa

Do some people really live in open terror of Christmas decorations, menorahs or Santa Claus? Are doves or the colors red and green just too much to take?

The University of Minnesota has faced some criticism in recent days after its ag college passed out a memo warning students and staff to avoid using such decorations.

A university spokesman now says the memo just involved the ag college, and was meant to stir a discussion. The university, he said, is in no way trying to ban any holiday symbols.

“Certainly there will be a conversation, if it hasn’t already taken place, to see how we can learn from this moving forward and avoid a situation like this in the future,” he said.

Here’s how:

University President Eric Kaler should make it clear that the university is an accepting place that believes in diversity. He should say that students have free speech rights and religious freedom rights, and can celebrate and promote Christmas, Hanukah or any other December tradition they choose. Other students, i.e. the perpetually offended, can ignore these celebrations, or go hide under their bed covers and sob, if need be.

Faculty and staff at the “U” probably have to be careful in what they promote, since the university is publicly funded and there should be a separation of state and church. But a faculty member should be able to extend a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukah” as a personal greeting. And if Kaler appears with Santa at the university’s cancer center — as he has done — then good for him. It is all meant with the best of intentions during this season of good will toward our fellow man.

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