By M. Francis Mirro
Last Monday was President’s Day. One of those weird holidays where, if you’re a student or teacher, you may or may not have a day off. This typically depends on what school you attend. Various arguments for scheduling, funding and time all go into the decision making that, presumably, will be focused on making the best decision for the students.
But, a funny thing happened when I walked into class on Monday: while students and professors had to come to campus ready to work, all offices were closed as the administrators helped themselves to a three day weekend.
And this wasn’t an isolated incident; there was at least one other two-tiered holiday last semester.
The issue here isn’t that we should have had President’s Day off. That could be reasonably explained away. But, tell me, under what justification do administrators deserve a day off and the students don’t?
Save the dumbfounding and stupid argument that “kids today have it easy.” There exists no reason why, if the school must remain open and students must be in attendance, the very people running it should be excused from being there.
There are, of course, numerous reasons why more days off for everyone around the country would be beneficial. I myself am an advocate for the four-day workweek.
So, I will never say that anyone, administrators included, couldn’t use a day off here or there. But, it should be self-explanatory that a holiday including a day off should apply to everyone or no one.
This comes during the first academic year without the fall Jewish holidays, which were scrubbed from the calendar against the expressed will of the Student Association and the student body.
Shaving down the calendar while simultaneously granting themselves special exemptions marks an almost complete apathy for the stresses of the modern student by administrators.
UAlbany can clearly recognize the need for a good three day weekend here and there. I’m sure administrators are no strangers to the stresses of everyday life, and are more than grateful for a weekend without that Sunday night feeling of doom, and for an alarm clock free Monday morning.
But it is also clear the school either minimizes or outright disregards the same needs and wants of the student body. They don’t seem too concerned with the optics of such a weird holiday arrangement either and, as evident by the process that tossed away the Jewish holidays, they aren’t the least bit concerned with the opinions of students on the matter.
Make no mistake, we want to be here. We wouldn’t be paying thousands of dollars if we did not expect to hustle to class every day.
This isn’t asking for something extra, it is asking for an understanding that the students here aren’t just accounts on UAlbany’s ledgers, numbers for their enrollment boastings and faces for their brochures. We, the students, are the very essence of the school and yet, we are very often, especially when it comes to issues of the calendar, treated as an afterthought, or worse, as an outright nuisance to be circumvented.
Ultimately, this is very simple. If the school is open on a holiday then all of it should be open; if it is closed then all of it should be closed. But, pretending like those administrators deserve a break more than the students they are supposed to be serving the best interests of is utterly tone-deaf and flat out insulting.
Right now, it appears UAlbany’s academic calendar is in many ways a self-serving tool by which the brass rewards themselves and ignores the students.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that UAlbany's campus Information Technology Services office (ITS) was closed on President's Day. ITS was open on President's Day.