An email from a University of Maine supervisor, directing employees to refrain from displaying Christmas or other religious-themed decorations on campus, has sparked outrage on the campus and in the community where the University of Maine is located. This is what the email said:
“Just wanted to remind everyone that Auxiliary Services is not to decorate any public areas with Christmas or any other religious themed decorations. Winter holiday decorations are fine but we need to not display any decoration that could be perceived as religious.
This includes xmas trees, wreaths, xmas presents, candy canes, etc.
What is allowed are winter themes, plain trees without presents underneath, decorative lights, but not on trees, snow flakes, etc.
If you are unsure, best to not use or ask me for clarification.”
The story, first reported by WABI-TV on Wednesday, spread wildly across social media: A Facebook group called Bring Cheer Back to UMaine had more than 600 members as of Thursday.
Dean of Students Robert Dana, in a news release Thursday, said that UMaine did not ban Christmas decorations, or representations of any other holiday.
“We want to be absolutely clear that at the University of Maine, we welcome every faith tradition, and we welcome displays of those faith traditions,” said Dana. “The university is a place where, indeed, there is a great deal of diversity and that’s what we want and expect.
At last report university officials are scratching their heads at why students and citizens see these statements as contradictory and why there is a controversy at all.