The University of Maine recently banned Christmas decorations, trees, wreaths, presents, Santa Claus, candy canes and Menorahs used to celebrate Hanukkah.
The school sent an email to staff on Monday banning the holiday symbols, some of which have no religious meaning (video below).
According to WABI, the University of Maine said in a statement, "...the university makes every effort to ensure that all members – students, employees, alumni and the public – feel included and welcome on campus. Decorations on the UMaine campus are therefore reflective of the diversity found in our community.”
However, students at the university said otherwise.
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“I noticed that there is a lack of decorations around campus which kind of is unfortunate because it looks nice. It’s the season of greetings and everyone is festive,” stated Matthew Tarsetti. “I think we should celebrate cultures rather than try to hide them.”
“Our trees had gotten taken down I know ATO was having a really nice event to raise food and coats,” added Alyson Binette. “It’s really disappointing, but I feel like it would have been good to benefit the community."
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The Bangor Daily News reported on Thursday that University of Maine Dean of Students Robert Dana said in a press release, “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. The university is a place where, indeed, there is a great deal of diversity and that’s what we want and expect."
“It doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t look good, and it doesn’t reflect us,” Dana said about the controversial email. “We welcome displays of religious symbols in public spaces and residence hall rooms. We don’t advocate one religion over another.”
During a press conference on Thursday, Dana appeared at a campus building covered with wreaths and told reporters, “I can confidently tell you that there are thousands of people at UMaine today saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to thousands of other people."