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Holiday Observance Statement

Celebrating the Holiday Season

In response to recent inquiries, and in order for us to ensure that current holiday celebrations are fully inclusive and respectful to all members of our community, the following guidelines should be implemented by departments and/or groups planning holiday activities this year.

Seneca College is committed to promoting and respecting the diversity of its students and staff. The following suggestions for celebrating the holiday season are an extension of this commitment to diversity, and the College's continued efforts to ensure that all students and employees feel welcome and included at the College at all times. The depth of religious diversity present at Seneca is very evident during this season. In reality, many different spiritual, cultural, religious, and tradition based events are celebrated in many different ways during the months of November, December and January. These include Islamic, Christian, Hindu, Shinto, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Zoroastrian, Wicca, Asian and Aboriginal celebrations.

As such, the College encourages its members to respect differences in religious practices during this, and other, holiday seasons. In an effort to create an inclusive environment, Seneca College has developed the following guidelines:

  • Displaying symbols that visually represent holidays of all religions in combination with secular decorations of the season.
  • Learning about other celebrations. Sharing your learning with others, and using it as a chance to expand the conversation at holiday gatherings.
  • Realizing that people celebrate a variety of holidays during this time of year, and some people choose to celebrate none.
  • Being respectful of these differences by taking interest in other people's traditions and making them feel welcome.
  • Marking your calendar and your address book to include cultural and religious holidays like Kwanzaa, Hanukah, Christmas, Ramadan, and Diwali.
  • Decorations and food should be general, and non-specific to any religion.
  • Posting holiday greetings on your webpage and intranet for many religious holidays.
  • Being respectful of these special dates, and planning events and meetings around various holidays.
  • Displaying a multi-cultural calendar to help all employees stay aware of important cultural events for the rest of the year.
  • Being flexible with the needs of all our employees.
  • Encouraging employees to share their celebrations through stories, decorations, and foods that they can bring to their department.

Guidelines for Inclusive Seasonal Displays

Holiday Displays/Decorations that are Consistent with Seneca’s Commitment to Diversity may include:

  • Snowflakes
  • Deyas (in accordance to Fire Safety Guidelines)
  • Candles (in accordance to Fire Safety Guidelines)
  • Lights
  • Menorah
  • Mistletoe
  • Stars
  • Crosses
  • All trees (not only pine or Christmas trees)
  • Any other specific displays/decorations brought forward by members of the community that represent their seasonal displays