Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Cornell University Warns Mistletoe Isn’t ‘Inclusive’ Enough And Students Shouldn’t Use It


Replies to: Cornell University Warns Mistletoe Isn’t ‘Inclusive’ Enough And Students Shouldn’t Use It

  • mdcmommdcmom Registered User Posts: 748 Member
    edited December 2015
    At Cornell even thirty years ago we weren't allowed to have an artificial Christmas tree in the dorm lounge. One year some kids found one anyway and told the RA it was a nondenominational holiday bush. It stayed up :) .
  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Forum Champion Brown Posts: 8,247 Forum Champion
    It also seems that many people have started struggling to discern the difference between someone telling them "what they should do" and "what they are allowed to do."
  • cosarcosar Registered User Posts: 696 Member
    So now count me in as not only agreeing completely with @T26E4, but as thoroughly disgusted by your making this pathetic attempt at rabble-rousing into a "Featured Discussion". I guess too many people were ignoring it, as they rightly should. I've been on this site for over 10 years and this is a new low. Honestly, I don't know what your agenda is, but please, just stop.
  • EmsDadEmsDad Registered User Posts: 1,479 Senior Member
    Apparently the Cornell Club in NYC didn't get the message since they are holding a "Mistletoe Mixer"

  • profparentprofparent Registered User Posts: 331 Member
    edited December 2015
    I completely agree with @cosar. And I would add that assessing the reliability and integrity of one's sources--not just for factual information, but also for their use of rhetoric, sensationalism, biased political "spin," cherrypicked evidence, and reputation for reliability or unreliability, etc. --is to me (and I think most people on College Cofidential) a fundamental principle of responsible scholarship that is strongly emphasized in all of the colleges we are so busy discussing. It is not merely a "cheap debating tactic."
  • usualhopefulusualhopeful Registered User Posts: 1,627 Senior Member
    @espenser The Daily Caller does not "accurately report how Cornell has banned mistletoe" because Cornell didn't ban anything. Perhaps you're referring to the restriction on "plan [sic] material that [has] NOT been treated with a fire retardant material." However, untreated natural-cut trees are also not permitted, so your argument that mistletoe is no more of a fire hazard than a tree makes me think you were referring to the suggestions later in the page which, to reiterate, were not bans.
  • espenserespenser Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    Some questions and observations:

    1. If the rules regarding mistletoe were merely suggestions, why does Cornell include them in mandatory fire safety guidelines?
    2. If you were a student, would you violate them? Or would be afraid of subjecting yourself to a disciplinary action?
    3. Is there a rational basis for these Fire Safety Guidelines to group mistletoe in a category that includes explicitly religious symbols such as Christian crosses and the Jewish Star of David? Or is Cornell engaging in the modern version of the medieval practice of counting how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
    4. How would you feel if Cornell banned the Star and Crescent of Islam at Ramadan? Would that be justified? Or would you regard it as a discriminatory practice that crushes religious diversity?
    5. Attacking the credibility of an accurate news story is a ploy that seeks to forestall debate. Indeed, it is an exclusionary rhetorical technique akin to the argumentum ad hominem.
    6. If the Daily Caller is to be excoriated for a lack of “responsible scholarship,” what media source meets that exalted standard?
    7. Is there any media outlet – whether liberal or conservative – that does not spin the news or cherry pick the facts to fit its political narrative?
    8. Granted, some media outlets spin the news more than others. But is the Daily Caller any different in this regard than the Daily Beast, the Daily Kos, or MSNBC?
    9. If not, why single out the Daily Caller as if it were somehow an outlier in this regard?
    10. Wouldn’t it be more rewarding to address the merits of this issue? After all, don’t both sides have reasonable positions to assert?

  • RequinRequin Registered User Posts: 179 Junior Member
    You know, if these things like holiday decoration and Halloween costume guidelines, 50-square-foot "free speech zones," draconian suspensions for Yik Yak tweets, and all the rest of it were reliably reported in the "reputable" outlets like the New York Times, there wouldn't be a need to cite the Daily Caller. But the fact is that for the most part, the NYT and sources like it ignore these eruptions of insanity, or give them three inches on page A24. I live in Los Angeles and the LA Times's coverage of the infant Robespierres at Occidental is pretty poor. Unless you can point to a factual inaccuracy in the stories in the Daily Caller, College Insurrection, and similar sites, it won't do for you to just look down your nose at them.
  • usualhopefulusualhopeful Registered User Posts: 1,627 Senior Member
    edited December 2015

    1. They are not mandatory, they were tacked onto a fire safety memo that started with mandatory regulations. I'll admit that was definitely not the best way to do it, but the suggestions are listed under "Guidelines for Inclusive Seasonal Displays."
    2. I honestly doubt that people will be too terrified to have a star-topped tree or menorah, especially considering that "any display areas that normally are available to all campus groups shall also be available for the display of religious symbols." These things are basically only an issue if it looks like Cornell is supporting a particular religion.
    3. I don't understand the inclusion of mistletoe, unless they've actually had a problem with it being used as an excuse for mistletoe. I'll add "inclusion of mistletoe" to the list of things that Cornell could have done better, or not done.
    4. You're right, I would feel like it limits religious diversity. Luckily, Cornell hasn't banned any symbols. I imagine this display would be most common around Ramadan in "celebrative and/or educational displays utilizing religious symbols," which are 100% permitted.
    5. Yep, attacking a message for being from a certain source is a legitimate logical fallacy. However, one poster who did that has already pointed out that what they meant was the story itself wasn't legitimate because it had politically slanted writing.
    6. Yes, each article should be reviewed individually for bias, although you can usually get a pretty good idea about how biased the majority of articles will be just by knowing the source.
    7. Nope.
    8. Also nope, which is why articles from the examples you listed are frequently not suitable for citation of facts.
    9. Probably since it's the only news source involved in this discussion. If Daily Beast, the Daily Kos, or MSNBC had been cited, they would actually be relevant.
    10. Yes, but part of discussing the merits of an issue is understanding what a document actually says, rather than just what a biased article told you it says.
  • slicedGabeslicedGabe Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    I hate how political correctness is destroying our country. How far will this stuff go?
  • usualhopefulusualhopeful Registered User Posts: 1,627 Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    The Harvard masters thing was ridiculous, but this strikes me as kind of pointless to argue all that much about. True, Cornell hasn't explained how mistletoe is not religiously inclusive, and its placement on the list is silly.

    But however poorly it was communicated, the idea behind the memo was to prevent overtly religious symbols from being placed so as to make it appear that the college is endorsing a specific religion. To me, that's not going to destroy the country.

    I guess I'm just bugged by the "PC is destroying us!" idea because it seems like 90% of the time it's used to justify racial, homophobic, and xenophobic slurs. It annoys me that a few rare examples of vocabulary restrictions (and other things, like holiday decoration guidelines) going too far are designated as "political correctness," even though political correctness is basically the idea that you should use respectful language and not slurs.
  • slicedGabeslicedGabe Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    There's a difference between political correctness and "not using slurs". Political correctness seeks to limit free speech, and those who are PC call people racist, even when such individuals don't deserve that label. Not using slurs is just common sense; PC is antithetical to that.
This discussion has been closed.