After rumours circulated about Brighton University banning the word Christmas from lectures, we see how much truth there is to these claims.
Multiple news outlets have been reporting that Brighton University is urging its staff to call the upcoming holidays “a winter break” instead of the Christmas holidays. Whilst these claims aren’t false, they have been a tad exaggerated, so much so that the university has had to hit back.
Has Brighton University Banned Christmas?
No, the university has not banned Christmas.
Staff at the university have been advised to refer to the upcoming holidays as the “winter closure period” to be more inclusive for its students. Brighton University says the language is “Christian-centric,” which doesn’t reflect all of their students.
A spokesperson for the university told The Argus:
“This guidance was produced with our staff and students and is part of our shared commitment to making Brighton a place where everyone feels respected and valued. Words are not ‘banned’ at Brighton, and neither is Christmas – as is clear from the decorations and Christmas trees in our buildings and across our campuses.”
The guidance is not being enforced and is just a gentle suggestion to the staff at the university.
What Actually Happened?
Brighton University released a 9-page document titled Inclusive-Language Guidance. In it are lists of words they want staff and students to refrain from using, with alternatives suggested. Some are more serious than others and are there to avoid discrimination, offence or stereotypes.
The document covers age, disability, race and religion. It was the latter that caused the discussion that made the document so widely talked about. In the table, one section says “Avoid Christian-centric language” and then gives the example “Christmas closure period.” It then suggests that the “Winter closure period” should be used instead.
The aim of the document is inclusion and to create a safe space at Brighton University for all. Its intentions are not to exclude those who chose to celebrate Christmas
Andrew Allison of the Freedom Association told The Sun that the document “is Orwellian and ridiculous.”
But the university document actually says:
“It actively aims to promote and maintain an inclusive and diverse academic community in which students and staff are free from bullying, harassment and victimisation. The purpose of this guidance document is to empower staff to
use inclusive language confidently and effectively, in order to ensure that both students and staff alike
feel safe, valued and respected.”
It seems as if the document has caused quite the riff, even if its intentions were all good. However, it seems pretty clear that the university doesn’t want anyone to stop celebrating Christmas. As long as that is what they want. The guidance is more tailored for just being mindful and inclusive of all those in the room.