Bows and wrapped gifts now offensive on campus

An academic department at the University of Minnesota declared that “bows/wrapped gifts” are “not appropriate for gatherings and displays at this time of year.”

According a copy of the guidelines obtained by Campus Reform, UMN’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) encouraged its employees “to recognize holidays in ways that are respectful of the diversity of our community,” recommending a series of steps to take.

“Consider neutral-themed parties such as ‘winter celebration,’” the flyer suggests, adding that “decorations, music, and food should be general and not specific to any one religion.”

The guidelines go on to say that individuals “may display expressions of their religious faith in their own personal space if it does not have a meaningful public function,” and not “in public areas,” such as “reception areas” or “kitchens.”

Additionally, CFANS claims that “in general,” numerous holiday items are “not appropriate for gatherings and displays at this time of year since they typically represent specific religious iconography,” including “Santa Claus, Angels, Christmas trees, Star of Bethlehem, Dreidels, [and the] Nativity scene.”

[RELATED: Universities strive for ‘Christmas’-free campuses]

“Bows/wrapped gifts,” along with the “Menorah, Bells, Doves, Red and Green or Blue and white/silver decorations” are also discouraged.

According to the flyer, “red and green are representative of the Christian tradition as blue and white/silver are for Jewish Hanukkah that is also celebrated at this time of year,” and so both should be reconsidered.

Susan Thurston Hamerski, media contact for CFANS, informed Campus Reform that the guidelines were used for conversation among faculty and staff, claiming they are “not policy” and “not for distribution.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski

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NFL co-hosts social justice training for college athletes

The National Football League has partnered with Morehouse College to host a three-day workshop dedicated to teaching student athletes strategies for “effective advocacy.”

The “Advocacy in Sport” workshop, which will be held in February, vows to teach students “how to develop and implement effective advocacy platforms that positively impact society.”

The workshop comes on the heel of the NFL’s recent pledge to donate $89 million dollars to social justice causes over the next seven years, a commitment that notably came in light of the protests against racial injustice seen by NFL players like Colin Kaepernick and others.

[RELATED: UNM prez: Players meant ‘no disrespect’ by kneeling for anthem]

“This historic workshop is aimed at training the next generation of athletes who wish to use sport as a powerful platform for advocacy,” said Troy Vincent, the Executive Vice President of Football Operations at the NFL, in the NFL press release.

“Our partnership is designed to equip athletes as influencers and community leaders with the mechanics to develop their advocacy platform,” Vincent added.

David Wall Rice, a psychology professor at Morehouse College, took the lead on developing the upcoming training, but it was also developed in consultation with NFL athletes, social advocates, and sports administrators, the NFL says.

The NFL and Morehouse College have been in meetings since October 2016 that were convened by the RISE, a nonprofit dedicated to “harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress.”

“At RISE, we believe that harnessing the unifying power of sports and empowering athletes to be effective advocates can improve race relations and drive social progress in our country,” said Jocelyn Benson, CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Students call Kaepernick ‘heroic’ for anthem protest]

The selected student athletes will also be required to enroll in Rice’s winter course on “Advocacy, Sport, and Social Justice.”

Harold Martin Jr., the president of Morehouse College, praised the upcoming workshop in the NFL press release.

"Linking with the NFL and their players in pushing forward social justice agendas that mirror present and past activist foundations of Morehouse College is

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Professor praises intifada in P is for Palestine book

A professor at Pace University recently published a children’s book praising “intifada,” which she claims is “overwhelmingly peaceful.”

P is for Palestine was written by Golbarg Bashi, who teaches history at the university. In her new book, she uses each letter of the alphabet and illustrations to describe the history of the Palestinian people.

[RELATED: Muslim students disrupt pro-Israel event at UCI]

“I is for Intifada, Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!” Bashi wrote in a passage that has since come under fire from numerous Jewish outlets, including The Jewish Journal, Haaretz, The Forward, The Jewish Chronicle, and The Algemeiner.

Bashi explained to Campus Reform that she wrote the book for her social-justice startup, called Dr. Bashi, which is dedicated to creating educational toys for promoting the Palestinian and Persian language.

“I wrote it because I couldn't find any books in English about Palestine,” Bashi told Campus Reform. “I myself am a refugee child. My interest in social justice issues started early in life, in Sweden.”

[RELATED: Prof compares Israel to Islamic extremist groups]

While she acknowledged that intifada is “associated with the Palestinian uprising,” she argued that intifada is “overwhelmingly peaceful.”

The Times of Israel, however, notes that “intifada” has a very different connotation for many Jewish people, evoking memories of the two Palestinian uprisings that resulted in the deaths of roughly 1,300 Israelis and 6,000 Palestinians.

“In my book, I wanted to highlight the peaceful side of intifada, so that the image that goes with that page is with a father and child showing the peace sign,” Bashi told Campus Reform, saying the word simply refers to “rising up for what is right.”

[RELATED: Pro-Palestine students shut down openly gay Israeli event]

"Intifada is overwhelmingly peaceful. Protecting Palestinian trees is intifada. Wearing a Palestinian dress is intifada. Calling yourself Palestinian is intifada, when so many powerful people have said you don't exist,” she concluded, affirming that she’s “very proud” of her book.

Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine recently praised the book on social media, calling it a “much needed representation of Pal

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Profs propose using classrooms to counter Trump rhetoric

Two University of Colorado-Denver professors have proposed using classrooms to counter the “injurious effect on students” caused by Donald Trump’s election.

Omar Swartz and Lucy McGuffrey argue in an academic article published Tuesday that “given the injurious effect on students” faced in the wake of the Trump election, professors should infuse “social justice” into their classes to help students fight back.

[RELATED: Profs publish book on pushing ‘social justice’ in class]

"These students and their allies look to us for support and assurances,” they write. “The academy can, and should, help our students…contest increased social inequality and exclusionary discourse toward immigrants that is now being amplified by the Trump Administration.”

Citing feminist theorist bell hooks, Swartz and McGuffrey argue that professors “have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart,” and thus, to create an “engaged pedagogy” to enlighten students.

To fight Trump, Schwartz and McGuffrey urge professors to help students develop a “moral imagination” that would ultimately allow students to find commonalities between themselves and immigrants, as opposed to viewing immigrants as “others.”

[RELATED: Prof urges colleagues to promote ‘progressive politics’ in class]

They also call for professors to take a more “creative approach to social justice,” since “knowledge connected to social justice can lead to breaking silence around the marginalization of various identities or status.”

This would allow students to “identify their oppressors, their own privilege and power, and the structures they and/or their oppressors utilize to maintain their disparate power and privilege,” which Swartz and McGuffrey hope will ultimately lead to “collective action” on the part of students.

The article was published in the journal of Communication Education, a peer-reviewed journal that aims to highlight issues surrounding social justice, diversity, and the student-teacher relationship.

Campus Reform reached out to Swartz and McGuffrey for comment, but did not receive a response from either in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @To

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TPUSA rejected for not conforming to schools values

The Wartburg College Student Government recently rejected a prospective Turning Point USA chapter, saying the conservative group does not conform to the school’s values.

Following a vote to deny the group official club status, TPUSA Iowa and Minnesota Field Director Ali McGough reached out to Wartburg Dean of Students Daniel Kittle to inquire into the reasoning for the denial, according to emails obtained by Campus Reform.

[RELATED: College rejects conservative group for anti-communist views]

“We were very disappointed in the vote today, especially because we worked really hard with the subcommittee, and made a lot of changes to make them comfortable with our organization,” she stated, noting that members of that same subcommittee, who recommended the club for approval, were included among many of the “no” votes.

She went on to state that she was informed “that an organization has not been denied in over four years,” though the Student Senate rejected the claim, telling News 7 that one had been turned down last year.

“If you could provide a little insight as to why we were denied after getting a recommendation from the subcommittee as well as what the appeal process is moving forward, that would great,” McGough then requested.

In response, Kittle suggested that McGough, “as well as the other presenters today, can summarize as effectively as [he] can the reasons for the denial.”

[RELATED: Santa Clara overturns student gov rejection of TPUSA chapter]

“In short, I believe that the Student Senate body were concerned that the values of Turning Point, as evidenced by expressed tactics, were not in line with the values of Wartburg College,” he continued, concluding his email by suggesting that there are “still an unlimited number of way” to advance the TPUSA cause.

“As for next steps, I am eager to work with the Wartburg students on advancing a new student organization that supports their agenda to increase conservative dialogue,” Kittle wrote. “While the Student Senate has closed the Turning Point possibility, there are still an unlimited number of ways to advance that cause.”

During the vote to deny TPUSA recognition, club members Emily Russell and Haley Cannon informed Campus Reform that some student senators objected to the use of the word “suck” in the popular TP

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