The head of UNC libraries has decided to keep the traditional Christmas trees out of the libraries this year. Head book marm, Sarah Michalak cited a dozen complaints from library employees over the last four years as the reason for her to become the Grinch. She also said she did not want to promote one religious view over another.
While I have no doubt Michalak is concerned about favoring Christianity, I wonder about her timing. What is different about this year than the last four? UNC did just get a new chancellor. My guess is that the timing has a lot more to do with the name on the building than anything else.
The most significant name is Walter Royal Davis. Mr. Davis was a large benefactor of the university and sat on the board of governors and also served as its chair. This is the first Christmas since Mr. Davis' passing in May. Maybe the Christmas trees in the library were still put up in years past because the staff knew they would get an earful from Mr. Davis if they were taken down.
BTW, Michalak has been known to stand up for other beliefs at her library. When she ran the University of Utah's Marriott Library she displayed Nazi propaganda despite complaints.
UNC's new chancellor, Holden Thorp cited other areas around campus that are decorated for Christmas.
Memorial Auditorium, where The Nutcracker is performed, Morehead Planetarium's Star of Bethlehem show and the student stores all have Christmas decorations. Right, chance, all of those places generate revenue for the university by being decorated, so let's dispense with the veneer or Christian accommodation.
If you are worried about leaving somebody out, then let's have all of the religions represented on campus. We can light the menorah in the pit for Hanukkah, have Diwali parties at the student center and Ramadan feasts at the chancellor's mansion!
While the anti-Christian bigots are at it, maybe they can change the name of the town as well. Chapel Hill is just too religious for some people.