At Missouri State University, the Office of Multicultural Student Services did not list Christmas as part of its December celebrations: but it did list Kwanzaa, which, unfortunately, they think is spelled Kwanza. They celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month from mid-September to mid-October; October is Gay and Lesbian Month; and Native American Heritage Month captures November. But no Christmas—just “Kwanza.”
At SUNY Buffalo, they held a Holiday Carnival, which included “a Hanukkah table, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day [this is a Canadian holiday], St. Nick’s Day and Kings Day.” There were also red and green cookies for the nostalgic, and chicken was served at the Kwanzaa table.
At Delaware College of Art and Design they believe in diversity so much that “to help set the holiday mood,” according to Lynda Schmid, director of admissions, “students make multisided solids based out of various materials, including paper and copper.” Sounds like a ball.
Penn State was clearly the most sensitive campus this season. Patreese Ingram has a title that is just perfect for censoring Christmas: she is an Associate Professor of Diversity Education. She cautioned that we need to be careful when planning a holiday party. For example, “Try to avoid dates that may conflict with important dates in other cultures and religions.” Also, “Try to keep decorations neutral, with symbols—flowers, balloons, candles and snowflakes—that can be enjoyed by most people.” Best of all is her advice about eating and drinking: Remember, she said, “Pork is forbidden for Jewish and Muslim people. Shellfish is prohibited for Jewish people and beef is not eaten by Hindus. While coffee, tea and caffeinated soda may seem ‘safe,’ members of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and Seventh-Day Adventists are prohibited from consuming caffeine. Therefore, juice may be an acceptable choice.”
We have a better idea. Why not just start the academic year one month earlier and cancel December? Either that or spike the juice with some vodka.