With the stresses of midterms and general grind of college life, many students welcome the chance to return home for Thanksgiving. For some, that means traveling across the country to spend just a few days at home for the holiday. Today’s editorial, “Holiday Ticket Turbulence” argues that the university should change the fall semester schedule to make the Monday after Thanksgiving a liberal leave from class, giving students more time to travel and a chance to take advantage of lower airfare prices.

Yet instituting a mandatory liberal leave for the Monday after Thanksgiving is an impractical policy change. Liberal leave would be interpreted as another day off for students — those who are not forced to be present for class, especially after a long weekend, will certainly choose not to attend. This policy, which would be intended for use by those who need it to make less expensive travel arrangements, would inevitably be abused, and almost no one would return to campus on time.

This policy change would also disadvantage students who enroll in classes that span multiple semesters. Organic chemistry, for example, extends over two semesters. Material covered in the first semester is extremely relevant to material covered in the second semester, and some professors already struggle to get through the material needed to prepare students for the next level. By effectively eliminating one more class session, there is even more pressure to cover the necessary information in a limited span of time. If professors are forced to do the same amount of teaching with fewer sessions, there is even less flexibility to cancel class when the university is forced to by unexpected circumstances, like during a hurricane or snowstorm.

This policy also shows a disregard for the professor’s class and work. Professors put in effort to construct a syllabus and curriculum for the semester and schedule as much information as they can cover in a short semester. Eliminating more class for students’ convenience pressures professors to teach the same material in less time and disrespects the integrity of a carefully planned curriculum.

The majority of courses allow at least one unexcused absence during the semester. Thanksgiving break is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of this policy if students need to leave home later in order to buy cheaper tickets. This policy gives students flexibility with their schedules without effectively eliminating an extra day of classes. The curriculum would not be thrown off, and those who do not need to use the absence could spend it on a sick day or during midterm season. We encourage all professors to adopt this policy of forgiving a few unexcused absences per semester if they have not done so already.

Ultimately, students are electing to make this purchase. No one is forced to go home over the break. University policy should not be forced to comply with the airline ticket market so that some students who make this choice can have their ticket be cheaper. The editorial mentions that the current schedule places unequal financial burden on those traveling greater distances. Changing the break policy overcorrects for the problem, creating more conflicts and stress for professors.

Instead of forcing Georgetown to provide another day off, students looking for cheaper tickets could fly back Saturday night, which is cheaper than Sunday, the hectic day before many businesses and schools resume. Of course it is necessary to provide a Thanksgiving break from school. But Georgetown should not be obligated to take it a step further and fix all market inequalities for students when it comes at the expense of professors and their classes.

KENT CARLSON is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. LAURA WAGNER is a sophomore in the College. They are members of the Editorial Board of The Hoya.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*