At last night's faculty meeting, the student association president brought up an interesting proposal: add two holidays to the academic schedule which would give students and faculty one day off in the fall and one day off in the spring. The suggested holidays: Labor Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Most universities take these two days off, but traditionally Harding does not give any holidays off; instead, the days are put together to give students an entire week off at Thanksgiving. While it's really nice to have that entire week off, it also seems odd to not have off holidays that most everyone does. Also, not taking off MLK Day makes a negative statement, regardless of how unintentional it is.
The SA president brought up an interesting statistic: Harding meets classes an average of 9 days more than most of our sister institutions, and our schedule is several days longer than most universities in Arkansas and the nation. The problem is that many classes meet only on Mondays, and not meeting that day would set the class back the equivalent of a week. If they could be rearranged at other times during those weeks, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't take Labor Day and MLK Day off.
BTW, I asked if anyone at the meeting knew if this would affect accreditation issues, and no one thought it would.
We'll be voting on this proposition at our next faculty meeting. I'll let you know how it works out.
Update on 2/28/08:
MLK will be observed.