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Orem, Utah university won't center class assignment around a nativity scene (January 10, 2019)

Utah Valley University has reconsidered a continuing education class assignment that centered around creating a nativity scene.

A local Orem resident reported that Utah Valley University’s continuing education program includes a woodcarving class where students will “complete and paint the beginning of a Nativity set: Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.” Our complainant reported that they considered taking the class but were discouraged from doing so because of the religious theme.

FFRF Legal Fellow Chris Line reminded Utah Valley University of its obligation to remain neutral on matters of religion and pointed out the exclusionary nature of such an assignment.

The university’s legal counsel responded to FFRF’s letter. “We’re working to ensure inclusive project offerings specifically in the woodcarving course at issue, and hope that the concerned resident you reference will reconsider the course in the near future.”