Missouri State University

Holiday Decorations Guidelines

The following guidelines apply to decorating University buildings for holidays.  They are based on decisions of the United States Supreme Court and other federal courts interpreting the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution in the context of decorating public buildings:

  1. Common Space   
    1. The building coordinator is responsible for determining the selection and placement of holiday decorations in common areas of University buildings.
    2.  Decorating using religious symbols is not appropriate in common areas of University buildings unless the decorations are part of a display celebrating religious diversity, religious freedom, or similar subject.
    3.  Examples of religious items which would generally be inappropriate for use in holiday decorations in common areas of University buildings include:
      1. The Nativity Scene
      2. A Cross or Crucifixion
      3. A Menorah
      4. The Star of David
      5. The Star and Crescent
      6. Drawings of Jesus or Mohammed
      7. The Bible or Koran
    4.  Examples of decorations which are appropriate for use in common areas of University buildings because they are not religious symbols include:
      1. Flowers
      2. Greenery
      3. Wreaths
      4. Christmas Trees
      5. Bells
      6. Snowmen
      7. Winter Scenes
      8. Santa Claus
      9. Animals
      10. Ribbon
      11. Flags
      12. Pilgrims
  2. Personal Space
    1. Faculty and staff may place holiday material (secular or sacred) within their personal space and personal offices.
  3. Student Decorations
    1. Student organizations may place holiday material (secular or sacred) only on bulletin boards or reserved contact tables in Plaster Student Union as provided by the Advertising and Solicitation Policy located at www.missouristate.edu/judicial/23800.htm#bulletin.  Students may decorate their residence hall rooms for the holidays as limited by the Guide to Residence Hall Living located at http://reslife.missouri.state.edu/assets/reslife/0809_Hall_Guide.pdf.