Earlier this week, FIRE covered Western Piedmont Community College’s (WPCC’s) censorship of the use of the word "Christmas" on the flyers of a student group that was attempting to sell Christmas trees for charity.
Today, we are happy to inform you that WPCC has admitted that it made a mistake and fixed its error.
As Atticus Simpson, vice president of student development at WPCC explained to Fox News:
"We thought we were violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by promoting the sale of Christmas trees – which we thought would be promoting one religion over another."
Allowing students to promote their religion (or lack thereof) without the college’s imprimatur does not run afoul of the Establishment Clause. In fact, prohibiting students from doing so violates their First Amendment rights.
We don’t see colleges openly admitting mistakes very much here at FIRE, but we’re happy when it happens. So thank you, WPCC, for admitting the mistake and reversing course to respect your students’ expressive rights.