Georgetown University follows a Monday class schedule on the Tuesday after Presidents’ Day, even though this day is just a regular Tuesday everywhere else.
Last spring, Georgetown started following a Monday class schedule on the Tuesday after Presidents’ Day. Since three days of Monday classes are canceled for holidays in the spring, the university chose to use a Monday class schedule for the Tuesday after Presidents’ Day to equalize the number of meetings for classes that meet on different weekdays in the spring semester, according to a university spokesperson in an email to The Hoya. The university’s attempt to add more Monday class days, however, creates conflicts for students and faculty with commitments off campus.
Since the Monday class schedule for this day is already planned through spring 2022, it likely cannot change. For the next multiyear calendar, however, the university should revert to a regular Tuesday class schedule after Presidents’ Day.
While Georgetown starts each semester on a Wednesday that follows a Monday class schedule, this practice is more realistic because classes often follow a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule. The additional day of Monday classes is more disruptive when it is imposed on a Tuesday. Even other universities that start semesters on Wednesdays with a Monday class schedule, such as Duke University, do not parallel Georgetown’s practice of holding Monday classes the Tuesday after Presidents’ Day.
Though losing Monday class days is not ideal, other universities have survived this challenge without creating unnecessary scheduling conflicts. If the university is concerned with missing too many Monday-only classes, it should avoid scheduling such courses during the spring semester when it knows several holidays will occur.
Losing Monday class time can create challenges for professors, but making Tuesday follow a Monday schedule is even more burdensome, according to Adam Rasmussen, an adjunct lecturer in the department of theology.
“When you teach part-time at multiple institutions (as most adjuncts do), unless both institutions follow the same ‘administrative Monday’ system, it can create conflict,” Rasmussen wrote in an email to The Hoya. “As an adjunct, I would prefer they revert to the old policy and abolish the administrative Monday for Presidents Day.”
It is unfair for Georgetown to expect faculty to adjust their schedules around a quirk in the academic calendar when the day after Presidents’ Day is a regular Tuesday almost everywhere else. The university should not require professors to choose between teaching an extra day at Georgetown and upholding work commitments elsewhere.
The current policy also creates problems for students who work off campus with inflexible work schedules. On Feb. 18, Grace Crozier (COL ’21) skipped two classes to work her regular retail shift on Wisconsin Avenue.
“I had to make a choice between attending class and working, which is a choice I try really hard to avoid having to make,” Crozier wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Georgetown’s current policy makes attending class on this Tuesday less accessible for students who cannot afford to lose a day of pay. Though the schedule is published multiple years in advance, this notice does not guarantee students a solution to their scheduling conflicts.
“The Monday make-up is inherently unrealistic because it isn’t Monday anywhere else in the world, only within the bounds of Georgetown’s campus,” Crozier wrote.
Outside employers have no reason to care about adjusting to Georgetown’s schedule, and students cannot plan their semester-long work schedule around one particular Tuesday. The current policy will always require some students to choose between skipping a day of pay and racking up unexcused absences. Georgetown has a responsibility to alleviate this additional barrier for students who rely on income from off-campus jobs.
Georgetown should not require students and professors to choose between their Georgetown commitments and regular off-campus ones. The university should return to a Tuesday class schedule after Presidents’ Day in future calendars. If it’s a Tuesday everywhere else, it should be a Tuesday here, too.
The Hoya’s editorial board is composed of six students and chaired by the opinion editor. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.