I found the Sept. 9, 2002 front page headline on the “Currents” newspaper (published by the University), reading: “Convocation christens academic year”, to be quite insulting.
As a student and member of the UR community I was deeply offended by this headline.
To the best of my knowledge, “christen” is a clearly Christian word, applied almost exclusively to a Christian act of naming.
Even if the editors are able to produce a definition excluding Christianity, the word has obvious Christian connotations.
While our university was founded by Baptists in 1850, to the best of my knowledge, the UR is unaffiliated with any church (or synagogue or mosque) at this time.
Convocation at the UR is not a religious event, and therefore, the Currents newspaper should not have implied that the official start to the school year was somehow related to Christianity, nor any religion whatsoever.
Furthermore, Currents should have been trying to encourage more students to attend convocation, rather than alienating with poor word selection.
At a time when our university is attempting to embrace, support, and encourage diversity, this headline is completely inappropriate because it excludes a good portion of our campus community.
The word choice demonstrates particularly poor judgment, because of its front page position on a publication assembled by the university administration.
CLASS of 2003