U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. slammed the University of Tennessee on Thursday, reports the News Sentinel, over a holiday party advisory that encourages students and faculty to “ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.”
The advisory, posted on the website of the university’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, also warns that holiday parties should have “no emphasis on religion or culture” and that there should be no games “with religious or cultural themes,” such as Secret Santa. (Note: HERE)
Duncan blasted the advisory as “an extremist type of reaction” and “ridiculously overboard.”
“I am saddened and very disappointed that the school from where I graduated would do this,” the Knoxville Republican said. “People all over the country are sick and tired of all this political correctness. It is going to an extreme that the overwhelming majority of my constituents and the American people are opposed to.”
Duncan said the people he represents in Congress “are disgusted by this action, and people at the university should be taken to task for it.”
…UT spokeswoman Karen Ann Simsen said the advisory is not a policy but “a list of suggestions” and an online resource for faculty and staff to review as a means of creating a more inclusive holiday environment within their departments and administrative units.
“We recognize that our campus community is diverse and its members observe various religions and faiths,” Simsen said. “Our campus has numerous holiday parties and celebrations, and we do not monitor 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.”
UPDATE/NOTE: Fox News commentator Todd Starnes weighs in on the matter with a video of Duncan commentary included, HERE. And two state Senate committee chairs are calling for the resignation of UT-Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek over the post, HERE.