What did mistletoe do to Cornell?

Steve wrote here about the “best practice” guidelines for December holiday parties issued by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Now, Cornell University has extended this ridiculous mindset beyond the realm of community events like parties to private decisions by students and faculty members about what decorations to display.

Blake Neff of the Daily Caller reports:

The guidelines are buried inside a Cornell publication concerning fire safety guidelines for holiday decorations, and were first noticed by the website Campus Reform. The first half of the document concerns certain banned fire hazards, such as candles and metallic Christmas trees.

The second half of the document, though, veers off into a discussion of how to make the Christmas season more inclusive.

What should Cornell students do to be more inclusive decorators? They should focus on winter (e.g., by using snowflake decorations) instead of any holiday or they should include decorations for multiple holidays alongside secular decorations.

In other words, Cornell is advising students either to commemorate winter (or some other “secular” phenomenon) only or to include in their commemoration holidays of no significance to them that they may not wish to honor plus something secular.

Cornell proceeds to list decorations that are “NOT consistent” with the school’s “commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.” They are:

-Nativity scenes




-Stars (when placed on top of trees)


-Stars of David

Whom does mistletoe fail to include? People no one wants to kiss, I suppose.

Cornell says that holly, Santa Clauses, and wreaths are acceptable decorations, but only after “dialogue within [a] living unit or area” to ensure nobody is offended. You can’t make this stuff up.

I should add that Cornell’s guidelines make it clear that students and faculty members aren’t barred from privately displaying religious symbols in their work areas or living quarters. Instead, the guidelines “encourage” students and faculty to follow the “inclusive” approach set forth in the document.

But Cornell brands those who don’t follow the guidelines as not “respectful of the religious diversity of our students” and not “consistent with Cornell’s commitment to diversity.” That’s a strong condemnation for having mistletoe or a tree with a star at the top in your room.

The intent, of course, is to browbeat students into limiting their religious expression. Surely, this is more offensive than mistletoe.