Campus Christmas Controversy: ‘Charlie Brown Tree’ at University of Scranton

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SCRANTON, Pa. -- The University of Scranton's president is turning a campus controversy into a teachable moment after the university's Christmas tree got a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons.

It seems almost nothing is without controversy these days and that includes the University of Scranton's Christmas tree on the Dionne Campus Green.

It's been decorated but won't be lit up until this weekend.

It's been dubbed Scranton's Charlie Brown Tree but the university president is reminding students that "maybe it just needs a little love."

Some University of Scranton students say a star on top and all the lights in the world can't help. This year's campus Christmas tree leaves much to be desired.

"At first when I saw the tree, not going to lie, I was a little bit disappointed," said sophomore Alec Sullivan.

The evergreen has become the campus punching bag.

Students say the school set the bar high in previous years, and this one pales in comparison.

"I'm a student officer so I've heard from my other workmates that it was really big last year. Since I'm a freshman, I don't have much to compare it to, but, it is a little bit sad," said freshman Simone Vanderlee.

Students have dubbed it Scranton's Charlie Brown Tree, and the title is making the rounds on social media.

"I'm on the lacrosse team, so a lot of the girls put on their Snapchats, 'Oh, we got a Charlie Brown this year," said freshman Amanda Whelan.

"There was an Instagram post about it, it was just being put on blast," Sullivan said.

This is a school after all so the University of Scranton president thought the Christmas tree controversy could be a teachable moment.

All the complaints about the tree prompted a campus-wide email from the president, Fr. Scott Pilarz in which he reminds the students at the Jesuit university, "central to the message of Christmas is that God loves us unconditionally, with all of our imperfections."

Fr. Pilarz quotes Linus in his message to the students, "maybe this tree just needs a little love."

"I think he has good intent with it, but on the other hand, I think that he wants a nicer tree, too," Sullivan said.

Until the lights are turned on, students don't expect to be impressed but if you know the ending to the classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas" it all works out for the tree in the end.

Fr. Pilarz wraps up his message saying, "if there is any community that could love this tree, then it is ours."

"There's still the Christmas spirit with it, I think we can all rally together," Sullivan added.

The university purchased the tree from a different tree farm than usual this year. Even after all the complaints, the university president made it clear this tree is here to stay.


  • Frank Kopyta

    IMHO, the tree doesn’t look all that bad. I can remember the artificial tree my family had in the 60’s and 70’s. You could see through it even after all the decorations were on! That didn’t matter. We still celebrated Christmas; the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

  • nowiseenitall

    Can you believe these people? Those are most likely the same self entitled kids who got a used car on their 16 th B Day instead of a brand new car and weren’t happy about it! There are many good families that would be overjoyed to have a ” Charlie Brown ” tree . It truly saddens me to see Good people go without during the holidays, while others bellyache about what they do have !

    • Silverfish Imperetrix

      The University Of Scranton is a Catholic/Jesuit-sponsored school. I’m sure as time goes on they’ll end up caving to the godless, PC lefties, but not yet.

    • nowiseenitall

      It is apparent that someone is always offended by something , whether it is God, prayer in school, saying merry Christmas or even a star in Honesdale. What happened to our country and society?

  • Sue Phillips

    Typical U of S students ….. a bunch of freaking snobs think they are better than everyone else. Get a life already!! There are more important things in life than a stupid Christmas tree. smh

  • Robert OMalley

    All these poor snowflakes who are soooooo disappointed should chip in and buy a perfect tree…………. like that’ll happen.

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