Deck This! Angels, Stars Banished From Christmas Trees

December 23, 2015

By Bob Unruh at

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on Wednesday used a commentary on its website to cite Cornell University for the “chill” it is imposing this year on students who may want to express their holiday traditions or beliefs.

For example, a tree is all right as a decoration. So are snowflakes. But a tree with lights isn’t, unless there’s an appropriate “dialogue” within the “unit or living area.”

Under no circumstances are angels appropriate, the school has announced. Neither is mistletoe. And banished, too, are stars when they are “at the top of trees.”

The commentary comes from Catherine Sevcenko and points out that the instructions all come from the school’s Department of Environmental Health & Safety.

They include “sensible prohibitions against hazards such as ‘combustible decorations’ and burning candles.”

But then the requirements veer off “from physical safety into rules apparently designed to ensure some kind of ephemeral, emotional safety,” she wrote.

She points out that Cornell is a private university, so the First Amendment isn’t applicable there in the same way it would be an a public university. But even so, she said, the school has professed a “deep commitment to academic freedom and a belief that such freedom is essential to creativity and innovation...

Schools: Cornell University