Duncan Blasts UT “Holiday Party” Rules Calling for Secret Santa Ban

Dec 3, 2015 Issues: Education, Oversight

WASHINGTON – In an interview with Fox News Thursday, U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) blasted the University of Tennessee’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion for issuing rules on holiday parties, calling the memo “ridiculous.”

The guidance warns students and faculty to “ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise,” and to “not play games with religious and cultural themes” such as “Secret Santa.”  It warned that parties should have “no emphasis on religion or culture.”   

“I am saddened and very disappointed that the school from where I graduated would do this.  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,” Duncan said.

“The people on the far left who claim to be tolerant seem to be tolerant of everything except traditional Christianity,” Duncan continued.  “They don’t object to Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or any other religion’s traditions. But they go unhinged on anything that hints of traditional Christianity.  They try to take down Crosses and Christian emblems. It is a shame and very sad.  And it is extremism.” 

“Justice William Douglas was one of the most liberal and left wing Supreme Court Justices to ever serve,” Duncan continued.  “In a famous case in 1952, Zorach v. Carson, he wrote an opinion for the court that said, ‘…we find no constitutional requirement which makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weight against efforts to widen the effective scope of religious influence.’  He was correct, and this is still the law of the land today.” 

“The people I represent are disgusted by this action, and people at the University should be taken to task for it,” Duncan said.

The University of Tennessee receives most of its operating budget from federal student loans and State government appropriations.

In September, the same office backed-off of a call to switch to gender neutral pronouns such as “xe” and “xym” after an international public outcry.  Duncan at the time said that policy “made UT a laughingstock” and he was “personally embarrassed” as a UT alumnus. 

“Someone obviously has too much time on his or her hands,” Duncan said.

UPDATE:  The holiday party memo has been removed by UT officials.