When you checked your finals schedule for this semester, you probably crossed your fingers that your exams wouldn’t fall on the last day of finals, Saturday December 23rd. This is the latest day that the semester of anyone currently on this campus will experience. For some on campus, this will mean less time with family during important religious or otherwise holiday times. For others, it’s simply a later end of semester date. Regardless, as we at the Phoenix have written about throughout this semester, we should keep our larger community in mind as we consider campus policies.
To offset some concerns, we recognize that not everyone at the college celebrates religious holidays that occur near the 23rd, and therefore, this date may not matter to them in a critically spiritual way. However, whether or not religious celebration occurs in every household, many students will face steep travel prices and fares in their departures because the 23rd and surrounding days are some of the busiest travel days of the year.
A philosophy of the college is to make sure that each student has access to the activities any student should have regardless of economic status or available funds. While is true that the cash-free campus cannot reasonably extend beyond campus at all times and in all instances, the college should take care to make experiencing college, including the breaks from it, easy on students.
In addition to students the late start date makes things harder for faculty and staff. After students leave campus, staff have to stay on campus in order to close things up. As we at the Phoenix have discussed, prioritizing staff’s time and their well being is also critical to the health of the campus. The staff supports the campus family, but the college’s calendar should not degrade the participation in their families or lives beyond work.
We recognize that there are many considerations that go into making the academic calendar, including other members of the tri-co, and that these calendars are made years in advance. We know this editorial is not going to change when finals end this semester, or even change the academic calendar set out for next year, which has finals ending on the 22nd, but it is important that the college keeps considerations of religious holidays and travel costs in mind when developing a calendar. To guide the process, here are suggestions from other schools.
Peer and near by institutions for the end of the Fall 2017 academic semester:
Amherst 2017 – Dec 22
Williams 2017 – Dec 19
UPenn – Dec 21
Penn State Dec 15
University of Maryland – December 19
Villanova – December 19
Drexel – December 16