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The Daily Tar Heel

Student Feels That Views Of Minority Beliefs Are Not Represented in Area

As a junior transfer student from the University of Vermont, I must commend the University of North Carolina for its devotion to attaining and honoring diversity among its students.

Fielding both sides of controversial issues and promoting the freedom of speech and expression of community members creates an amiable environment that is conducive to attaining an optimal education.

December's warm greeting has not disguised the festive spirits of the holidays as evidence of its presence emerges in the form of Christmas lights and ornaments around our campus and town. But my first encounter with winter in the South has proved to be very different from those I have experienced in the North. As a Catholic, seeing symbolic representations of my religion in public has aided me in establishing my beliefs with my new family here at Carolina by surrounding me with the comforts of familiarity and acceptance. Despite this, I can't help but feel that something more than a blanket of white snow and cold weather is missing: the acknowledgement of diversity. The privilege of having my beliefs validated and represented within my community has not been extended to fellow colleagues with different religious backgrounds.

The celebration of Hanukkah begins in a few short days, and I have not seen a single menorah or star of David displayed in public to honor the Jewish holiday. Other holidays like Ramadan and Kwanzaa that are celebrated this month have also not received any attention.

UNC likes to boasts its concurrence of cultural diversity, but I feel that the viewpoints of many members in our community are being swept aside. Catholic and Christian practices do comprise the majority of the Carolina population, but this does not entitle us to overlook others that are represented by fewer numbers of students. By not publicly recognizing the celebration of these beliefs, equal rights have not been extended to all members of our community. The collective responsibility to change the trends that have prevailed on our campus in the past involves opening up the doors and encouraging everyone to openly express their opinions. Our attempts to step outside of our individual beliefs and embrace the diversity that exists among us will only enhance the enchanting atmosphere of the holidays and our campus. So, in the spirit of the holiday, I just ask that we all take a moment to reflect on this. The best education bestowed upon us will be gained from one another. Happy Holidays.

Elizabeth Pecoy

Junior

Biology

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