Haverford Takes MLK Day Off; Bryn Mawr May Follow.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Haverford College has broken tradition and decided to make Martin Luther King Day a recognized holiday, and Bryn Mawr is poised to follow suit, according to a November 6 report in the Bi-College News.

For Haverford, classes will be cancelled that day, and all other faculty, staff, and administration will recieve the day off with pay. Bryn Mawr is still ironing out changes and working on scheduling difficulties. Administrators say the Tri-College calendar poses the greatest challenge, especially since Swarthmore has classes scheduled for MLK day.

Will this change be coming to Swarthmore? Apparently, there has not yet been any discussion of it. Dean of Student Life Myrt Westphal says that the only holiday Swarthmore has celebrated during the academic year is Thanksgiving, and that those two days are made up for during Reading Week in December. “Some folks don’t teach on Labor Day or Martin Luther King day, but those are individual choices,” she said in an e-mail.

Swarthmore Student Council President Peter Gardner ’08 says Student Council has not received any information about the proposal, but would is interested in the BiCo calendar, and how administration and the student body are responding to the change.

Though Swarthmore students may still have to trudge to class on the first Monday after Winter Break, Student Council is still working on last year’s proposal for “Thanksgiving in the Spring.” The initiative overwhelmingly passed a student referendum in December 2006, with 977 students voting in favor and only 83 voting against. As of September, Student Council is still discussing the plan with faculty and administration. Once the new plan has been formulated, it will be brought again to a student referendum for approval.



  1. “Without pointing fingers, we could not get all three campuses into alignment on this. The real challenge here is that we have a Tri-College calendar, we’re committed to having a tri-college calendar, and for more reasons than I can begin to enunciate, we need to have a tri-college calendar.”

    …they’re totally pointing fingers at us. I’m personally in favor of keeping classes on MLK day, because where in the calendar are we going to make it up?

  2. It honestly does strike me as strange, though, that at such a progressive campus we recognize neither MLK Jr. Day nor Labor Day.

  3. I think we should definatley recognize MLK Jr. Day or Labor Day on this campus. It may not be perfect, but there are ways to integrate one less day of class each semester into the calendar. These are national holidays, and represent people and movements important to the country’s history. Regardless of whether you feel influenced or interested in that history, I think it is important that Swarthmore, as an institution committed to social responsibility, educate the campus community about the social movements that these days represent. Personally, I would love to see us take those days off from class and instead host several events and educational seminars on the Civil Rights Movement and the labor movement.

  4. The end of semesters area already crowded and stressful as it is, and I don’t think we should take another day out of the schedule in addition to the proposed Thanksgiving in the Spring. It is very possible to be aware of what the holidays represent without taking the day off of classes. I’m all for having events related to them and recognizing what they stand for, but at such a tightly scheduled place at Swarthmore taking a day off of classes is simply not feasible without a lot of increased stress at the end of the semester.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Phoenix

Discover more from The Phoenix

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading