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Study Days Open Thread

As you may have seen on Ye Olde Facebook, a “Petition to Change Columbia University Winter Break Calendar” has received over 1800 signatures since being started a few days ago. At the same time, with the (at least temporary) death of Bored@Butler, some commenters have asked us for an open thread, if only for more efficient procrastination.

Unrelated? Maybe not entirely. Since most of our longer comment threads have already detoured at least once into Winter Break issues, and since the looming shutdown of Postcrypt showed that even administrators read Bwog comments now, we’ll try opening up the comments on this post to ask: how are you being affected by the late end of exams? How should students protest (if at all)? And what’s the best way to change the calendar that might save 2011, 2012, and future classes from this thoroughly unpopular situation? Fire away.

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  • sorry... says:

    @sorry... but you need to deal. you aren’t the first nor the last classes that this is going to happen to. you are privileged enough to be able to go to Columbia University in the first place.

    “The students have the right to happiness! the college is violating this right. We don’t deserve to be here, we work so hard all semester, and get little reward. We already have to make so many sacrifices for the college. THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ONE OF THEM.”

    Maybe you don’t think you deserve to be here right now, but what about the people who don’t have the means to be here at all? You work hard during college so that you may reap the benefits of an incredible, high-caliber education. Maybe it sucks going home late one or two years in a row…but the University owes you nothing more. Sorry, but that’s the way the world works.

    1. Will says:

      @Will Above is generally credited. Kinda sucks to be have limited study days and to go home this late, but in the big picture it’s unimportant.

      1. Wait says:

        @Wait “in the big picture it’s unimportant.”

        Not for those who a) enjoy spending times with people they love, which, is more important than any degree (and, ironically, is linked to academic success) and b) are religious. I understand we are a secular university, but this verges on discrimination. I have to be home, with family, to celebrate this religious holiday. These needs need to be considered.

        1. you've got to be kidding me says:

          @you've got to be kidding me While I agree that this final schedule is annoying and I’m all for finishing earlier, your argument is ridiculous. I’m a jew… I spent all of Hanukkah finishing projects and studying for exams, I had a midterm during high holy days, I could go on…

          The university is secular and making an accommodation for just one religion WOULD be religious discrimination. Everyone needs to suck it up and stop whining, aside from a handful of international students from Asia everyone can get home in time for Christmas.

          Main point: Stop being such a fucking whiner, Columbia is never going to be able to make everyone happy

          1. well says:

            @well I celebrate christmas.

          2. Wait: says:

            @Wait: Hanukkah isn’t close to the holiday in judaism that christmas is in christianity. on top of that, the issue here is that the teachers “happiness” (since supposedly they don’t want to start until after labor day) is being placed ahead of the students happiness. Everyone i’ve spoken to is fine with starting earlier: we don’t want our finals after break like princeton. We just wish that people would realize that it is the people who don’t have to travel at all are fine with the current system- ie professors who live in new york and the students like the above poster telling us to stop whining. It’s flat out wrong to keep us this late. the end.

    2. this is says:

      @this is true… but if you were paying $50,000 for a new car every year, wouldn’t you want each of them to be perfect?

      I’m just trying to imagine every thing else I could buy with this money. Luxury cars, being one of them. I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to demand a decent schedule of our “luxury” institution.

      1. OP says:

        @OP good point…I guess I just felt like the “OMFG we are all doomed” reaction of some was going a little bit too far. Yeah, I hate exams right now as much as the next person, but these things are planned YEARS in advance. what can we do, except suck it up?

        1. this is says:

          @this is well, thanks to the awesomeness of the internet, it only takes a few seconds to set up one of these groups, a few minutes to invite all your friends, and then virtually no effort for it to take a viral effect. so, while we probably wouldn’t even take the effort to stop outside butler and sign a piece of a paper, we’re more than happy to procrastinate on facebook and bitch at the same time all with a few letters of text. maybe, JUST maybe, it’ll make some impact. doubtful, but some sort of hope while we’re all stuck in this death of finals.

    3. anonymous says:

      @anonymous That same argument could be used to justify many different things which are considered unacceptable.

    4. re-focus says:

      @re-focus Whether or not we should be thankful for attending Columbia is irrelevant for the winter calendar discussion. On the students’ side of the matter, the important issue is having a schedule that is convenient for all students.

      The truth is that many people, including international students, have to fly home, and may not be home for the Holidays, which is more significant if these students celebrate Christmas.

      1. agreed says:

        @agreed well said.

    5. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Read Jonathan Kozol: the university is built on blood and nourished by injustice…each privileged young person at Harvard…is leading his life and building his dream upon the lives of poor kids every bit his human equal yet, for no greater sin than non possession of the ticket of admission will be able to live as he now lives…..

      1. I wonder... says:

        @I wonder... …how many orgasms Kozol has with such furious mental masturbation. Excuse me while I go ponder the Blood Guilt that the Modern University has to face.

    6. I reeeeeaaaaalllllyyy says:

      @I reeeeeaaaaalllllyyy hate you and everything you think you stand for…. shut up.

    7. Bitter says:

      @Bitter Of course I deserve to be here, but I also pay a shit ton to attend. I am not paying $50,000 to miss out on the Christmas season with my family for a bachelors degree. What’s more important, reading and writing about books written by some dead guy or spending one of the best times of the year with those you care about. We are lucky to go to Columbia, but its wrong of them to take this time from us.

    8. College Man Brian says:

      @College Man Brian Sorry… is bitter about going to Barnard.

    9. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous its not just about the holidays for me. because we end so late i can never find a job over break. money has always been an issue for my family and winter break is the only time i have to contribute

  • Seriously? says:

    @Seriously? People need to stop moaning about this! Get over it. I know it sucks that Columbia conspired with the gods to push Labor Day back and make us stay so late into the year, but we have to deal with it.

    On a “solution” based note – do we really need a fall break? If we lost that finals could be earlier every year.

    1. yes says:

      @yes if by we, you mean me…

      if you take away my fall break, i will cry like a little girl.

  • anon says:

    @anon yeah, the late semester ending is tolerable.

    the unfair closure of Postkrypt Coffeehouse, however, is not.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous what happened to postcrypt? no one ever went there anyway, it was lame. Shut down 1020, and then you may have an uproar

  • The solution says:

    @The solution is for professors to suck it up and pay for daycare for one or two days before labor day so we can start before labor day and end before, you know, christmas. Bwog, this is a good idea but everyone’s getting their frustration out on facebook, so all you get is the people who like to play devil’s advocate for the fuck of being little fucks.
    The reason we start after labor day always isn’t tradition, it’s faculty pressure, because it doesn’t effect them to end late – they don’t have to teach til the last day before christmas eve. They all do grades in their jammies leisurely over break, as bwog has documented in past. Funny, this university doesn’t listen to profs on important stuff, just bribes them with nice apartments and labor day vacation time.

    1. anon says:

      @anon It’s not just professors – it’s the entirely University – dining staff, cleaning, admin, NSOP crew, etc.

    2. Professors are already paying says:

      @Professors are already paying If you think for some reason that your professors are not already paying for daycare through June, July, and August so that they can work (yes, professors do not take the summer off) you are totally ignorant.

      Signed, one of your professors (with children)

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous disagree on the being a prof claim. You have no children. You are not a prof. I can tell. I know.

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Yeah, I’m calling shenanigans. This does not sound like a professor

    3. New York says:

      @New York has a very strong tradition of Labor Day as a holiday where people do not work. Despite the fact that we do have class/exams that interfere with holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Columbus Day (that last one was just a joke), I think a lot of the people who work for the university would be pretty upset if you asked them to either work on Labor day or start before Labor day. Granted, we’ve got people upset now (and perhaps rightly so) about having to stay this close until Christmas, but Labor Day is a national holiday.

      The point is, I don’t think there’s a way to ‘solve’ this without making somebody upset. Starting earlier isn’t really an option, and I think that we need the fall break. Labor Day was unusually late this year, and this is the fallout from that. Without radically changing the academic calendar, this is what it’s going to be.

  • aryeh says:

    @aryeh To those who say we should get over this debacle: you are right. In the grander scheme of these four years, let alone our lives at large, these couple days aren’t going to make a huge difference. The fact of it is, though — and correct me if I’m wrong — is that it seems like the university has held on to this schedule (starting after Labor Day) for arbitrary reasons (e.g. “most people – everyone from professors to housing to coop – are used to this rule, so it would mean moving things around” — well, yeah! but that doesn’t mean the rule still doesn’t make sense).

    At the end of the day, though, it comes down to this: what the university is perpetuating through its schedule, whether or not it is a “big deal” in the bigger scheme of things, is something that could be fixed relatively easily, and would make a LOT of people happier. So why doesn’t the university do anything about it? This is the issue at hand. And to make matters worse, the University – despite having acknowledged the problem (e.g. Dean Peña-Mora during Yule Log apologized for the situation in a passing comment) – has, to my knowledge, not given any explanations for why this policy is still in place nor any explanations for why the problem can’t be rectified. So there, that’s the issue.

    As for an analogy (it would be better if we forgot the analogies like the car one stated above since it’s better for almost everyone’s sake if we don’t reduce an education to its monetary value – shouldn’t most of us agree that in theory, anyways, a good education is priceless?), I would suggest instead thinking about this situation in simple terms: if it’s easy to fix something that would make a lot of people happy, why not fix it?

    Anyways, good luck on finals everyone! :)

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous obviously, people are not happy to be here, you can feel it in butler. However, it could be worse. The law school used to, may still have, a policy for first years that finals were AFTER New Years!!!!!! Is that stressful or what??!!!! So it could be worse

  • I'm says:

    @I'm more peeved at the fact that we only get three weeks of vacation instead of four.

    1. i agree... says:

      @i agree... i agree!

  • Disagree says:

    @Disagree I personally strongly dislike the smugness that Columbia has in most everything it does. They give no notice before changing tuition and no explanation for the changes, instead just sending a bill and expecting us to pay whatever. They de facto shutdown groups because of “safety issues,” even when there have been no incidents. And now they make decisions that have significant monetary and psychological impacts on students without their input or any willingness to change.

    The most obvious impact of this schedule is the cost of flights. Regardless of issues of religious observance and being home for Christmas, flying on December 22, 23 or 24 is very expensive. My flight to California costs double what it did last year. The potential for delays and cancellations is very real, creating unnecessary headaches for everyone traveling very far at all. As a student with multiple children in postsecondary education, Columbia’s schedule this year is very different from most other schools around the country, and so the time that both my sister and I can be home with our family is much shorter than it would be normally.

    Second, I would argue that getting out so late has a significant psychological impact upon students. It is hard to remain motivated to work when you are the only one still taking exams among your high school friends. Not everyone may have felt this, but I know it was an issue for me and several other people I know.

    There is also a significant psychological burden for many students in the fact that they will miss Christmas. While I agree that the university should not favor one religion over another, I do not believe that is the case here. The university makes accommodations for religious observances of all religions (attendance policies, food offering in dining halls, etc.), and by not allowing people to be home in time for Christmas they are hindering the religious observance of what I would assume is still the majority of the school.

    Finally, returning to my feeling about the way Columbia acts in general, I have always though of a university as an institution that exists first and foremost for the benefit of its students. Without a vibrant student body the university could not exist, and it is for this reason that I feel appeals for greater student input on this issue are justified. The only real reason I remember ever hearing for why the start of classes could not be moved to before Labor Day is the issue of professor’s children not starting public school that early, and I feel that this misses a key point. Professors are employees of Columbia, and they receive their income from the University. Students, on the other hand, pay to attend this school. It would be far easier for the small portion of professors and other staff with small children to find child care for a week than it is for the entire student body to adapt their lives to this calendar.

    I’d like to note that I love the education I am receiving from Columbia and the opportunities that I have being in New York, but that I don’t think that this should come at the price of openness and a strong dialogue between the administration and students.

    1. nice says:

      @nice well said! props for actually hashing that out in an extremely articulate manner!

    2. seconded says:

      @seconded your statement basically sums up my grievances with this issue.

    3. This one says:

      @This one wins.

      The Labor Day thing is especially ridiculous to me. This summer everyone I know from high school, except those on a trimester system, went back to school the week before I did–and while I enjoyed having that extra week, I also recognized how insane it was that that week would end up cutting into my Christmas, especially since giving up some time before Labor Day doesn’t seem to be a problem for faculty at other peer institutions. This seems like such a simple fix. I would gladly end my luxuriously long summer a little early if it would mean I could spend more time with my family before Christmas–and yes, my family and I are the ones paying for me to be here.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous These ppl claim that the statement was nicely put, articulate. It wasnt: nice · 21 December 2009 at 4:16 PM · Reply
        well said! props for actually hashing that out in an extremely articulate manner!

        seconded · 21 December 2009 at 4:35 PM · Reply
        your statement basically sums up my grievances with this issue.

        This one · 21 December 2009 at 4:36 PM · Reply

        ” love this sentence, are you gs, or cc??? Please at least learn to think and write, then communicate. Or shut up

        “As a student with multiple children in postsecondary education”

        Are you trying to say as a student IN A FAMILY with multiple…??? what are you saying???

        For some reason that particular comment was sanctified by bwog to the point that I couldnt add a reply that would follow right below it, it leaves me right at the back of the cue. I am responding to that student from California with the sister or some other such rubbish who hates the high price of flights at this time of year

        1. Disagree says:

          @Disagree Yeah, that should have read as you edited it there (“as a student from a family with multiple children…”).

          Sorry about that and any other typos, though I think you can still understand my arguments.

        2. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous what are you saying when you say “back of the cue”…do you mean back of the queue?????? omg omgggggg i can’t understand what you’re trying to say, you made a typooooooo omg

    4. All good points says:

      @All good points I completely agree.
      By the way the Christmas aspect is of little importance, I’m Jewish and this sucks for me too.

      Why NOT change this?
      I don’t understand who is currently benefiting from the situation.

      Obvious solution = start school one week earlier. This year would have been Last Day of class: December 8, December, 9, 10, 11 study days. December 14-18 finals. How is this difficult or worse?

      1. The labor day thing says:

        @The labor day thing Is because NYC public schools start after labor day. Professors AND staff are against the change so that they don’t have to send their kids to daycare/get a babysitter during the week they would need to start work and when their kids would start school.

        1. CC 2012 says:

          @CC 2012 The New York City public schools idea is a rumor. It was said at the Columbia College student council meeting that they the university uses the fact that they don’t start until after labor day as an incentive to attract professors.

      2. wtf says:

        @wtf what the.. fuck?
        is this comment serious?

    5. ZACA says:

      @ZACA 5th’d and waiting for administration’s response; not holding my breath though, because I still have a final on Wednesday so I need to stay alive until then AT LEAST.

    6. Idea says:

      @Idea Hew Bwog editors, maybe want to forward it along to various deans and/or offices (registrar, etc.)?

    7. Yeah says:

      @Yeah Flights were crazy this time. So bad, in fact, that I will be on trains for 30 cumulative hours. Flights were just out of my reach this time. Two weeks before the exam schedule was posted, flights were about $400 cheaper.

      1. YES says:

        @YES That is my main gripe. I am not happy about the current schedule and even less happy that it is going to be continuing through the rest of my time here, but if that’s the way it has to be, then the very least the school can do is post the finals schedule WAY in advance. Like, September. They have to consider how much more it costs to travel this late, and they make such a big deal out of how you can’t reschedule a final for travel plans, so I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they try to accommodate us at least on this.

      2. You know, says:

        @You know, the “projected exam schedule” on ssol on the “exam list” page is up for pretty much the entire semester. I have to buy plane tickets home way before the official exam schedule is up, and it’s never led me astray in 5 semesters.

        1. Well says:

          @Well If that’s the case, why can’t they just say from the beginning that the projected exam schedule will be the real exam schedule and have done with it? I’m not willing to take the risk of buying a non-refundable ticket until I’m absolutely sure that I won’t be missing finals, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

          1. Wait: says:

            @Wait: most of my exams are either different from their time on ssol or weren’t put up until late november. while you may have been able to order ahead of time, some of us were not

          2. Aron says:

            @Aron Also, the kids who take tests with ODS might have different times.

  • cc2011 says:

    @cc2011 This policy, along with the many other things that Columbia does towards its students or lack thereof, is the exact reason why the alumni network is so damn horrible at this school. If Columbia actually took the necessary measures to “take care” of its students while they were by listening to their grievances or simply treating them like they’re a part of the community then we wouldn’t have people leaving this place without any sort/sense of attachment. Compared to other schools:

    1. Columbia charges $20 for a replacement ID card when other schools give the first one for free
    2. Columbia charges over $100 to use a room with “electronic devices”
    3. Columbia does stupid shit like giving us 2 days for our study days and still insists on calling it “reading week”
    4. Has a dining hall that has awful service and serves mediocre, if not shit food, for $14 (it’s not that hard to make it better; meeting and eating together at dinning halls are one of the best ways to get to know people)

    I know these may be random and albeit minor examples of how Columbia as an institution seeks to suck its students dry then expects them to “give back,” but they still exist. Really columbia? Why would I want to give something back to Columbia when all I’ve gotten while I’ve been here, maybe besides the education, is crap?

    1. and Throve says:

      @and Throve And the student center which is really an administration center, not to mention all the draconian policies which go along with reserving and using space.

    2. CC 2012 says:

      @CC 2012 I received my first ID for free.

      1. SEAS 2012 says:

        @SEAS 2012 Try reading that again: “Columbia charges $20 for a replacement ID card when other schools give the first one for free”.

        Replacements cards cost $20 at Columbia. Some other schools will replace your card for free the first time you lose it.

    3. Agreed says:

      @Agreed I just graduated this semester and this is the first time I’ve had the chance to look at Bwog. Compound a heavy work load with a lack of campus events, and I feel like I’m still yet to meet all the friends I could have made from my class.

      I don’t feel connected to the university at all.

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous I would have given up Thanksgiving break to have a more fulfilling Christmas break. This just sucks.

  • How to fix it says:

    @How to fix it – Screw the Labor Day start date and start the week before. As someone else has already mentioned, if other institutions can do it, so can we. That it’s “an administrative headache” isn’t good enough. The argument that faculty who send their kids to NY public schools need the extra week is also silly. How many faculty here actually send their kids to NY public schools anyway?

    – Screw the Election Day Break (this year in particular). Anyone who wants to vote can do so by absentee ballot, and once again, our peer institutions don’t get the break anyway. Eliminating the break adds back a Monday and Tuesday class period, which means the dangling Monday at the end of each semester can go away, and if you really want the to not add any class days in the semester, we can start a day later (adding the Tuesday after Labor Day as an extra vacation day).

    – Screw the weekend. More finals over the weekend. Once you’re in exams, who cares what day of the week it is? There were very few finals scheduled over the weekend, which meant we finished 2 days later than we could potentially have.

    1. honestly, says:

      @honestly, there’s really no need to get rid of the election weekend holiday if we schedule finals for weekends AND move classes up before labor day. i think someone’s getting a little slap-happy here…

      1. and Throve says:

        @and Throve The idea was to pick and choose. I like fall break as much as the next person (mostly to shove it in the face of friends at other schools), but can’t really do that when we finish a week later than they do.

    2. Agreed says:

      @Agreed I very much agree.

    3. Also says:

      @Also Technically we don’t need the extra Monday in the Fall semester anyway. We have Monday/Tuesday off for election day and then Thursday/Friday for Thanksgiving, which means more T/Th classes missed than M/W (since most M/W classes aren’t M/W/F). Either we should have the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off or we should lose the last Monday.

      1. ditto says:

        @ditto Some classes don’t meet on the usual M/W and T/R basis like seminars, labs and language courses.

  • to the rescue says:

    @to the rescue I will babysit, at an exorbitant rate, faculty children if that will make the profs. suck it up and put on their tweeds a week earlier.

    1. sorry the nannies are already booked says:

      @sorry the nannies are already booked Why do you folks think that professors and staff have the weeks prior to labor day “off”? We don’t. We are working. The sitters are already paid and we are tweeded up. But we need the last weeks of the summer to finish the research we do – that we are judged on and awarded tenure for – so that we can keep our jobs.

      Why don’t you try changing the ad hoc/tenure process while you’re at it. I don’t think the profs are against the change in the schedule.

  • staff says:

    @staff Professors aren’t the only ones who keep this University running. Starting Columbia before public school starts means all staff who are parents will have to find some alternative care. And by staff, I don’t just mean well-paid professors. Staff includes dining staff, cleaning crew, housing admins, construction workers for orientation, secretaries, etc. Don’t assume all us staff members can afford to “suck it up”.

    1. On the other hand says:

      @On the other hand The current policy asks all the students to suck it up (as opposed to some faculty and staff). Why should we have to be the ones who take on the additional financial and psychological burdens?

    2. cc11 says:

      @cc11 Although your point about non-faculty staff is well taken, I think the problem could be alleviated or solved if the University contributed extra pay for those summer days. I don’t raise any objections against taking a few tens of thousands of dollars off of Prezbo’s paycheck to get it to work.

      1. cc11 says:

        @cc11 I might add, since this is an open thread, that a small minority of the staff here at Columbia have been offensive, disrespectful, and willfully incompetent for no apparent reason on numerous occasions. I really have no sympathy for those people.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous this has been my experience not only at Columbia, but basically everywhere. Just go outside of Columbia and you’ll see it doesn’t get any better. it’s ridiculous you make judgment like that just because minority of the staff here is incompetent

          1. Wait: says:

            @Wait: The problem here is that the university doesn’t exist for the non-teaching staff: their jobs exist because the university does. why is it fair to say that making someone buy a ticket costing hundreds of dollars more is better than having someone buy daycare? and furthermore, i cannot POSSIBLY see how if EVERY professor had to deal with the summer ending a week earlier that tenure would be affected. you think the university’s going to never give anyone tenure again? please.

            Some columbia staff are great, but the ones posting on here are the ones that make going to school here such a hassle. when i see someone going about his or her job with a smile on her face i like going to school here… when someone acts INCONVENIENCED to deal with the students who make up this school, i get angry.

        2. Small minority... says:

          @Small minority... might be understating it. In every dealing that I have with Columbia staff, I’m always polite, respectful, and friendly yet I still get treated like shit. My current situation: the mail room has been withholding my mail for about a month now because I once asked when one of my magazines (which was a week and a half late) might arrive. Today when I asked the “workers” at the mail service window why they’re not delivering my mail, the guy essentially admitted that they were withholding it, all while BARELY suppressing his laughter. This last month has been busy so I’m just getting around to addressing this now (i.e. reminding Columbia that withholding mail is a federal crime).


          I don’t really feel like hearing how superb Columbia’s staff is, and how we need to be considerate of their needs.

    3. yeah says:

      @yeah most security and maintenance staff work over the holidays anyways because the dorms are open so this line of argument doesn’t even make sense to follow in the discussion… the only people it would affect outside of prof. and students are the dining hall staff

      1. really says:

        @really Only dining staff? Believe it or not, students make a mess in the dorms, bathrooms, classrooms, libraries, and auditoriums that requires much more cleaning staff than a cleaning crew taking care of an empty campus. Also, the libraries, gym, bookstore, Lerner Hall, Health Services, shuttle buses, computers labs, CUIT, off-campus graduate housing will have to gear up for full-campus mode a week earlier. There are a lot of costs involved in adding an extra week. Oh, and the last week of August is HOT and most places don’t have A/C.

        The university calendar affects many more people than just undergraduates and their professors.

        1. Right on says:

          @Right on And security! Don’t forget security! There’s a LOT that happens on this campus that students don’t know about, don’t take into account, and frankly the high-handed way y’all are talking about it makes you sound like spoiled, overentitled rich brats.

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Also, the dining staff is already working the week before labor day, as are many people on the campus, as this is nsop. Maybe try not having 10 days of orientation to cut costs.

  • cc2011 says:

    @cc2011 well maybe it’d help if the staff, including all those who are not professors, could suck it up as well since there are plenty of other schools who start before labor day. i can see how doing so would be harder for staff, especially those who aren’t professors since it’s more expensive living in the city. However, that shouldn’t be the reason why staff tells columbia students to simply “suck it up.” If anything, staff here at Columbia should be equally irate at this institution for possibly not paying them enough–I don’t know. Regardless, in the end, the institution is meant for its students and therefore should dedicate its resources to taking care of them more so than its staff–especially those who aren’t professors.

  • 2011er says:

    @2011er Okay. While I can see this argument from a standpoint of “flights are mad expensive the closer you get to Christmas,” NONE of this other bullshit makes sense.

    You say the majority of Columbians celebrate Christmas? I see no Christian Theological Seminary. Barnard is 45% Jewish. There is such an otherwise diverse religious population here that you cannot possibly expect the University to cater to those who celebrate Christmas when classes aren’t even cancelled on Yom Kippur. Because going to class without eating for the entire day is a GREAT and PRACTICAL idea.

    Second, the risk for delayed/cancelled flights is greater now than it was a week ago? As far as I can tell, it is just as likely to snow a week or two before Christmas than it is this week. Hello, this past week was way cold enough for snow! And it’ll be 40 degrees and raining on Christmas!

    Stop making this an issue of compromised “happiness” and at the very least salvage your dignity and make it of compromised convenience with regards to plane tickets. I’d be much happier if I didn’t always have three midterms on my birthday (which I do), could party all Halloween night and not have to get up for class in the morning, or didn’t have to beg my professors to record their lectures every time I need to miss a class for a religious holiday. In case you haven’t noticed, Columbia caters to its faculty, who all live right here and aren’t affected by finals being so close to Christmas.

    This petition is just plain embarrassing.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Just to note, I believe the major issue with snow delays was that a delayed or canceled flight on 12/24 could lead to the person not being able to get home for the holiday.

      1. lol says:

        @lol when was the last time it snowed on christmas?

    2. Well says:

      @Well somebody seems a little negative hwew. I think what upsets people (or at least me) about this is that this is a problem that could be easily fixed with very few negative repercussions to anybody. Even though you don’t celebrate Christmas, how much do you really gain from starting after Labor Day as opposed to a week earlier? And is this slight inconvenience worth ruining Christmas/ Christmas Eve for those with long plane rides home who do celebrate it? I’d be perfectly happy starting earlier or not getting the election day holiday off or whatever so that you could have Yom Kippur off. Seems like the Christmas issue doesn’t affect you either way, though, so I don’t quite understand why you even care enough to bitch so much here.

      1. thank you!! says:

        @thank you!! seriously what is the point in supporting this stupid policy when it could so easily be solved at very few people’s disadvantage?? seriously I don’t see why people are so against even TRYING to fix it

    3. It's called says:

      @It's called UNION theological seminary, idiot.

    4. "Christian Theological Seminary" says:

      @"Christian Theological Seminary"

      Just for the record

    5. There's no "Christian Theological Seminary" says:

      @There's no "Christian Theological Seminary" But there is Union Theological Seminary.

      Do your research.

    6. and Throve says:

      @and Throve Not to mention it’s pretty easy to take off the Jewish holidays since (a) so many people do already and (b) they don’t conflict with final exams (ie: you can take them off and make up the work if you need to; can’t skip my final)

    7. ... says:

      @... Jewish kids shouldn’t get off for Yom Kippur because Muslim kids fast a whole month for Ramadan. Besides, if the University can move commencement to accommodate a Jewish holiday, why not push the end of break back a couple days?

    8. Jewish says:

      @Jewish just a brief comment… if you care enough not to eat on Yom Kippur, maybe you should consider not going to class on that day (spend the day at services?) and complain about MISSING class. makes your righteous Jewish anger a little more legitimate.

  • Honestly, says:

    @Honestly, the later start to winter break doesn’t affect me. I’m from Long Island, so I’m home in 1.5 hours whenever I want to be – I won’t miss Christmas. But I know a huge and unreasonable number of people who will be spending Christmas in the airport, forcing their family to postpone the holiday or just go on without them, and that’s not right. They also have to pay way more to fly home so close to Christmas, so people who have financial difficulties already might find the transportation costs to be too much and again might need to book a later flight and just miss Christmas. Maybe it sounds whiny to complain about “missing Christmas,” but for a lot of international students that’s the one time of year when they actually get to see their family. And after college, who knows if they’ll even have that? Columbia shouldn’t be making it so difficult and costly for students to have this family time, they should be keeping their students’ interests in mind and helping us reach a good solution for this problem, whether that be eliminating fall break or moving back the start of classes a week. Columbia students are bound to complain no matter what the resolution may be, but ultimately I think it’s worth losing a day or two off earlier in the semester so that we can all be home for winter break a bit earlier.

  • You know what? says:

    @You know what? The academic calendar is set about 10 years in advance. If you have such a big deal with having to go home on the 23rd of December, maybe you should have taken that into consideration when you decided to come to Columbia.

    1. Yeah says:

      @Yeah Because the first thing most people do when trying to decide what college to apply to is sit down and look through the academic calendar for the next decade in intense detail.

    2. yeahhhh says:

      @yeahhhh …because you totally did that… obviously not retard- this isn’t a make or break deal for college choice, its just something that could be fixed so easily

  • honestly says:

    @honestly the fact of the matter is, whether or not you celebrate Christmas, its a national holiday. SO, if the national calendar is calibrated around this day and everyone and their mom has off, we should be done with exams far enough in advance so we can spend time with family and friends.
    this isn’t only annoying for int’l students but also students who may not be as wealthy as the majority of Columbia kids and need to take multiple buses etc. to get home and may just make it in time for christmas eve (if for example their last final is 12/23 evening and they leave that night/morning).
    it sucks even more for RAs who actually have to stick around until the 24th to checkout residents etc.

    1. this is says:

      @this is the dumbest argument i have EVER HEARD, columbus day is a national holiday that columbia does not have off also and are you complaining about not spending that day with your friends and family??? also, what does it say about the separation of church and state in this country if christmas is a federal holiday? pathetic. christians need to stop complaining about dealing with issues, yes you are the majority in this country but that doesn’t mean all of your needs should get catered to.

      1. --- says:

        @--- do you traditionally celebrate columbus day with your family? what exactly is your point?

        1. Jewish New Yorkers says:

          @Jewish New Yorkers Christmas is a cultural holiday in the United States, not just a religious holiday. The majority of Americans celebrate Christmas regardless of whether or not they are religious.

          It seems that all the negative ignorant comments are coming from rich Jewish New Yorkers who can’t possibly understand that not everyone lives like them. You probably live in NYC or NJ. All of the people who are either criticizing us for caring about the calendar or who don’t care are people who live in NYC or NJ, or have Daddy pay for their travel, etc. Why is it that if something is not a problem for you, you can’t conceive of how it is a problem for other people? Yeah, maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas…but can you really not see why it matters to other people? And as mentioned in so many other posts, it’s not about being religious…it’s about not the higher cost of flights/ possibly missing Christmas with family due to delays/ not having adequate time to prepare for exams if you work while you study.

          1. NOW THAT'S says:


  • You know what? says:

    @You know what? If you have no problem with the schedule, then why even bother writing a comment? Seems like it doesn’t affect you either way. And I don’t care if it were set 50 years in advance, the only way it will ever change is if someone brings it up to the administration.

    1. because says:

      @because Those who like schedule as it is are commenting to argue against stupid changes like starting before Labor Day and ridding fall break.

  • and says:

    @and I might add that a large majority of the students here at Columbia have been offensive, disrespectful, and willfully incompetent for no apparent reason on numerous occasions. I really have no sympathy for those people either.

    1. WIN says:

      @WIN I have also found this to be the case, and I heartily agree.

  • cc2011 says:

    @cc2011 bottom line is this: the schedule can be fixed with negative repercussions/dissatisfaction for a few, while benefiting the great majority.

    What else needs to be said? Besides, the ones who are getting dissatisfied are, according to the university, the professors. Last time I checked, professors cancel their classes when they want to, don’t even administer their own final examinations, and thus can leave for vacation pretty much when they feel like it. So professors don’t really care and neither do these other “indifferent” students who are posting; they care less which way the schedule is going.

    But in the end, happiness for the great majority at the expense of the great minority is what everything comes down to. After all, we’re talking about an institution committed to its student population, right?

  • CC '10 says:

    @CC '10 To be honest, the whole argument about professors/staff not wanting to begin early because of their children doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I’m not sure how it is in other departments, but I know that in the sciences, professors who are also advisors to graduate students work throughout the summer on their research; don’t they have to make accommodations for their kids then? Granted, perhaps the lack of classes allows them a more flexible schedule, but really, what makes university employees so much more special than the millions of parents in this country who must work throughout the whole summer while their kids aren’t in school?

    While I certainly sympathize with students who will miss Christmas or Christmas Eve, I feel that the religious aspect of the students’ arguments is weak. As noted in other comments, the university does not acknowledge any other religious holidays, Christian or otherwise, and so I don’t think that arguing from this perspective will get students very far in terms of changing things.

    I think the biggest, most unfair problems are the exorbitant costs and heightened stress associated with traveling so close to Christmas — this affects students whether they celebrate the holiday or not. I do not even have to explain the misfortune of students who must fly during this time, and even many students who live in the tri-state area have to experience the hell that is traveling on Christmas Eve. If they do not want to change the semester schedule, the bare minimum that the administration can do is deign to post the finals schedule a month or so earlier, to at least give students who must travel far the opportunity to save whatever money they can when purchasing tickets.

    Flying home on December 23 or 24 is an unpleasant experience that many of us will have to face once we enter the workforce. However, it will not be an experience that we must pay $50,000 a year for, nor should it be.

  • I really... says:

    @I really... … wish we didn’t have to deal with this. But we do. And rather than fight amongst ourselves, and belittle various arguments, we should take this time to make a collective statement about how Columbia needs to treat its students better. Forget all the BS emails about taking care when winter is approaching, the advising dean trying to sound all friendly and approachable just because she needs to justify her new post and paycheck and all that other stuff that helps no one– do something, actually do something for your students Columbia!
    And stop hating on international students so much… Again, if getting to the west coast sucks, imagine trying to get to Asia.
    And also the policy of not counting travel as a valid reason to reschedule an exam is ridiculous, especially for international students–we aren’t talking about a bus ride or a domestic flight here, travel is a MAJOR issue for us. I’m personally going to be spending a miserable Christmas on campus, and get to see my family on the other side of the world for less than two weeks before heading back to this great University of ours.
    I try not thinking of that, as I sit here studying for this stupid final…

  • Ray says:

    @Ray I bet if admin decides to start school before Labor Day, there will be an entire rebellion against that!

    People – just chill out. I didn’t realize so many students were so adamant about living with their parents again for 3 weeks. If you don’t get to be with your family on Christmas, you have exactly 24 more days after that to be with them.

    1. Ray says:

      @Ray And by the way – if you fly ON Christmas, plane tickets are super cheap. Went to Barcelona round-trip for only $400 two years ago! And if you do fly on Christmas, you won’t be stranded by yourself at Columbia because so many other people are in the same boat flying out late too :)

    2. cc2011 says:

      @cc2011 well now you do realize, ray. 24 hours to enjoy christmas? The entire point of the holdiay season is to have at least a few days to get rested/adjusted with your family so you can wait/anticipate the coming of Christmas, not show up at home the night before. If arguably the biggest holiday in America starts as early as October, even skipping over the lackluster celebration for Thanksgiving, then why shouldn’t this institution provide students with a few extra days for resting? Again, Columbia tries all these new initiatives and ways to reach out to its alumni. There’s a reason why the alumni network is so weak relative to other institutions as prestigious as Columbia. Ray, I didn’t know you enjoyed paying an exorbitant amount for a mediocre institution that neither tries nor actually addresses issues students raise.

      1. Ray says:

        @Ray Why limit yourself to only 24 hours? You should enjoy other days with your family as well, not just a single 24-hour span Americans call Christmas. In Asia, for example, only South Korea recognizes it as a national holiday. Every other country still works on Dec 25! As you said, it’s a holiday SEASON, not a holiday timer that ends after 24 hours.

        If Columbia is mediocre to you, why are you here?

        Also, I’m on full financial aid so Columbia actually pays me to be here ;)

        1. cc2011 says:

          @cc2011 ray, you’re missing the entire point. Sure you can enjoy more than 24 hours with your family, but the point is to have time before and after Christmas, not just after when you’ve come home the night before. The indisputable fact of the matter is that Columbia has no excuse for not giving us a longer period for winter break. Besides the fact that our winter break is shorter, Columbia should be giving us more time to study during our reading week; honestly, if it’s going to be called reading week then actually gives us a “week,” not 2 days. I don’t know why Columbia claims itself to be such a reputable institution when it fails to have the common sense nearly every other ivy league institution does.

          Also, as for your comment about what other countries such as South Korea does, who cares? We’re in America and Christmas has always been the biggest holiday of the year. Thus, Columbia should honor that and the students’ desires to spend time with their family for an extended period of time, as long as that doesn’t have huge repercussions, which it doesn’t.

          Oh, and for your information, I came to this “mediocre” institution because A. Columbia pays for 92% of my tuition and B. it takes a little more than “days on campus” to get to know this place better. Your seemingly rhetorical questions were pointless.

          1. Ray says:

            @Ray I mention Asia because they would be having the most trouble getting home before Christmas. For us Americans, we should be able to get home Christmas Eve even if we have an exam on 12/23. I mean, most people still go to work on 12/23 and I’m sure many fly to see family too. I don’t really see how us having to be in school 12/23 differs from adults having to work 12/23.

            And what happened to seeing family Thanksgiving or the Saturday/Sunday RIGHT AFTER Christmas or New Year’s?

    3. CP says:

      @CP Ray…the point isn’t about spending Christmas Day just with your parents or something. For a lot of people, you get to see a LOT of family around the holiday itself. Christmas Eve/Christmas Day are the only times that family members have off as well. For example, my brother only gets off of work for those two days, as well as many other members of my family. Big picture here is spending time with loved ones.

  • Childcare says:

    @Childcare Do we know for certain that this schedule is the preference of faculty and staff at Columbia? It seems that many of them would also need to travel during the holidays and would prefer not to proctor exams this week. Several of my professors have assigned final papers in lieu of exams, or administered the final exam on the last days of classes, presumably to avoid having to be here this week.

    Additionally, how many faculty and staff members would actually need to arrange childcare the week before labor day? Do the majority of staff members stay at home with their children in the summers? I doubt it. And while free summers are a perk to being a professor, I think most use their time to work on research or to travel to field sites, not to stay home with kids. If the administration is going to use faculty and staff childcare needs as an excuse for inconveniencing the entire student body, they should have data to support their claim–current rationale seems to be based on anecdotal evidence.

    What upsets me even more than the overall scheduling is that the exam schedule is not posted until halfway through the semester, which makes it impossible to book flights far enough in advance to avoid absurd holiday markups without risking either staying later than necessary or missing an exam. Classes are basically the same from year to year, why is it so difficult to post the schedule early in the semester?

  • cc 2010 says:

    @cc 2010 so my opinions on the matter aside, is this going to go anywhere? Are we just gonna gripe on teh internetz about how we aren’t treated fairly and then forget about it until procrastination begins for next year? As a senior, I don’t have a stake, but I would be willing to assist/support an actual, defined movement with a plan for action and reachable goals. For example, it’s been great to see GInia from PostCrypt trying to get letters of support. She has a plan and a mode of attack.

    I would LOVE to go to a university where the students were in control and listened to, but I think our campus culture is one of cynicism and passive aggressiveness. (Don’t believe me? read above…) We’re too caught up in our occasionally-acceptable feelings of entitlement to transfer those feelings into decisive action. If you do give a shit, sign a paper petition. Everyone, e-mail a letter to Moody-Adams or PresBo. Organize a rally on the steps. Hell, hunger strike (again). Frankly, I miss that cardboard octopus. Point is, I think change can happen, I just don’t think we’ve ever gotten our shit together as a community to make it happen. If just half the student body gathered on the steps to demand change, I’d be surprised if the administration ignored us.

    or you can just ignore me and call me a pretentious idealistic asshole or something.

    1. This says:

      @This is precisely what I was thinking.

      Having to fly on Christmas Eve is unpleasant. Doing something concrete about it would be a good idea.

  • anon says:

    @anon This might be a relative impossibility, but maybe–at least for the next two fall terms that follow this same exam schedule–the later “exams” could be turned into take-home finals, with requisite materials posted in PDF format on Courseworks.

    This would consign the University to a bit of work on its part (i.e. deliberately forming the exam schedule around classes for which it is reasonable to assign a take-home exam) but it would allow those who live abroad and on the West Coast time to return home early and work on the plane/when they get home. Students would be able to spend a reasonable pre-Christmas period with their parents, save money on travel, and still demonstrate their knowledge in a meaningful way.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I don’t think that’s possible. Pretty much all SEAS and science classes couldn’t be take home. Nice idea, though

  • Finally says:

    @Finally Glad to see Columbia is no longer trying to emulate the calender of Christendom! Its the 21st century and none of us even believe in God anymore so I am happy to see we are no longer bowing down to the Pope anymore in setting our academic calender to perfectly align with those of the Christ.

    1. Speak for yourself says:

      @Speak for yourself “none of us even believe in God anymore”? Come on. Even if you don’t believe in God, that doesn’t mean that none of us don’t.

      I completely respect your decision to not believe, but it would be nice to see some respect in the other direction. Don’t spit on my beliefs just because they’re not yours.

      There is no justifiable reason for you to need to make statements like this. If you like the exam schedule as it is, fine, say that. But find a way to say that without making yourself out as a anti-religious bigot, because it distracts from your point.

      1. When says:

        @When God created the world, you did not get a sense of humor.

    2. jeez says:

      @jeez Why is everyone insisting on being so rude?

    3. Haha says:

      @Haha I thought this comment was pretty funny.

  • CCSC says:

    @CCSC Where the hell were they when this thing was approved? My lord! They are supposed to follow this stuff so we dont have to – how could they let this slip by!

    1. Yangster says:

      @Yangster Hey, our president Sue Yang fought tooth and nail to get us…. an extra study day. wow, great job.

      1. Rabelais abrogated says:

        @Rabelais abrogated Which my professor promptly scheduled an exam on…

  • poor says:

    @poor If we start before Labor Day, wouldn’t we have to pay an additional week of housing, health insurance, meals/dining dollars (for freshman), and gym facilities fee? Kinda equals the cost of expensive plane tickets. And I probably missed some other stuff.

    1. No says:

      @No because then we would end a week earlier.

    2. CC '10 says:

      @CC '10 I don’t think so, because the whole point of starting a week early is ending a week early. Starting before Labor Day would not lengthen the semester, it would just get us out of here before Christmas (literally). I may be wrong about this, but starting in August/early September might actually save the university money in energy costs, as all of the dorms need to be heated this week but not all of the dorms are air-conditioned.

      1. repost says:

        @repost We still have the option to stay on campus during the break so we would pay for that too. And heat better be running or else the internationals that do stay will freeze!

        Health insurance still covers us when we go home.

        Gym facilities are still open even when undergraduates aren’t around. Why would the gym close seven days earlier (Dec 16) if staff members/post-docs/PhDs are still around?

        I guess dining/meals don’t change. But I hope dining options remain open Dec 16-Dec 23 for people who are on campus.

        December 16th is kinda ridiculously early to end the semester. What about DDC (high school mentor program)? Athletic events (why do athletes need to be all alone)? Club events (dance competitions, debate, etc). Probably other things I’m missing.

        1. CC '10 says:

          @CC '10 While it’s true that the dorms stay open over the break, the number of students staying in them is significantly lower than during the semester. So it costs significantly less to heat a few rooms in every dorm for an extra week than to heat (and light) every room in every dorm for the same amount of time. Your gym comment doesn’t make sense; the gym is open all summer anyway. And in previous years, most students were finished with exams by the 16th or pretty close to it — I think the latest I’ve ever finished before this year is the 19th.

          Like I said, I don’t know if starting early would actually lower the university’s energy costs, but it is something to think about.

          1. Aron says:

            @Aron There is one, and only one switch for the whole building. Off and blistering hot. The school could invest in smart heater that allows each student to control the temp… but I can dream.

  • no says:

    @no you’re stupid. we’d be getting out a week earlier.

    1. poor says:

      @poor We still have the option to stay on campus during the break so I would pay for that too.

      Health insurance still covers us when we go home.

      Gym facilities are still open even when undergraduates aren’t around. Why would the gym close seven days earlier (Dec 16) if staff members are still around?

      I guess dining/meals don’t change.

  • All other arguements aside, says:

    @All other arguements aside, i love my friends and family at home. I want to see them. But there are people here too, and where there are people so too there is my heart. So, if we absolutely have to be stuck here on campus, at least we have each other. Fellowship, kids, love and human connection, that’s what life is all about.


    1. From one of the kids to whom you refer says:

      @From one of the kids to whom you refer amen.

      1. ditto says:

        @ditto ditto

        1. thank you says:

          @thank you i agree!

        2. double says:

          @double ditto

  • CC '09 says:

    @CC '09 HUNGER STRIKE!!!

  • cc2011 says:

    @cc2011 for all those people who are bitching about how this thread is going on and on, the fact that this thread/list of comments is so long should be something to be proud of. Instead of despising the fact that for once Columbia students via w/e means of communication are coming together to discuss an issue, you should stop and recognize that this is something that’s pretty unheard of on this campus. So, please refrain from seeing such comments as a negative, and why not let thoughts/ideas circulate and see what happens? Having a discussion doesn’t preclude any formal action from taking place.

    There is a reason why this is one of the longest BWOG comment threads I have ever seen.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous A lot of people are saying that the university doesn’t acknowledge religious holidays, but it does. Commencement dates were moved this year to accommodate a Jewish holiday, and they will be moved again in 2018 to accommodate Ramadan. I know it is slightly different because the exams do not fall on Christmas, but it is incorrect to state that the university does not pay attention to religious holidays.

    1. FYI says:

      @FYI FYI – We do have Christmas Eve and Christmas off. Also, don’t most adults work Dec 23? How does us being in school Dec 23 differ from adults working Dec 23? I’m sure a lot of adults fly to see family too and arrive Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

      1. well says:

        @well Most adults don’t live halfway around the world from their home, as many Columbia students do. Getting home from your commute at 5:30 is hardly the same as having to trek to the airport and sit in a plane for 15 hours on one of the most traveled days of the year.

        1. If you think about what you just typed.... says:

          @If you think about what you just typed.... …you’ll find that the fact that Dec. 23 and 24 are “the most traveled days of the year” implies it’s not just college students doing the travelling. Get a clue. Plenty of adults live halfway around the world from their families and must travel during the holiday season to see them.

        2. alumnus says:

          @alumnus Here’s the deal: if being close to your loved ones at the holidays is the prime determinant of your college satisfaction, why have you chosen to study at Columbia in New York City. There are plenty of great academic options all over the country: Stanford, UCLA, Cal out west. Rice, Vanderbilt, Duke in the south. Michigan, Northwestern, UChicago in the midwest. Oxford, Cambridge, McGill, Sorbonne out of the states…

          This continued argument is why Columbia is considered “less than” some of its peer institutions. Just because you are one of the lucky 12% granted admission (not counting SEAS, BC, GS), doesn’t mean you get to set university policy. One would think that the admissions office would have the ability to vet the applications to find those who WANT to be at Columbia, and not those who HATE Columbia.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I love this sentence, are you gs, or cc??? Please at least learn to think and write, then communicate. Or shut up

    \As a student with multiple children in postsecondary education\

    Are you trying to say as a student IN A FAMILY with multiple…??? what are you saying???

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous lol look at you

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous I am, and Im not liking what I see

  • westerner says:

    @westerner Not knowing much about east coast public schools, are NYC public schools the only ones that start after labor day? What about Boston etc..? and if they do start after labor day as well, well then there’s plenty of precedent for starting school a week earlier, without the entire world, in fact, collapsing.

  • answer says:

    @answer a little google reveals Boston public schools started after labor day, and *gasp* Harvard managed to get its faculty and staff in the buildings a week earlier. Before I get flamed, yes I’m sure the two situations aren’t exactly equatable for X reason, but I feel like it a good counter to the claimed conflict the admin. keeps listing. Another (dare we say better) university can deal with this, why can’t we? The bottom line is, that even if having school until the 23rd isn’t the end of the world, it is still unnecessarily inconvenient and resolvable.

  • Okay, kids. says:

    @Okay, kids. Is it the end of the world having to stay here later? No. Is it a completely unprecedented thing that college students have exams that fall the day before Christmas Eve? No, of course not.

    And no, they are technically not obligated to cater to the holiday traditions of the students. But what is a university without a student body? And what kind of community can we expect to have while a good proportion of the students are upset and resentful at the university for its administration?

    Finals are miserable enough, why make them worse by having them during the time many students are used to being home with their loved ones?

    The fact is, the schedule inconveniences many while a revised schedule would inconvenience far fewer people far less. It seems rather simple.

    Regardless of your religious traditions, students are being forced to spend an exorbitant amount of money getting home. As my fellow faraway students know, flying on Christmas Eve is crowded, unpleasant, and ridiculously expensive. That alone should be a good reason to change the policy.

    The religious/tradition aspect also can’t be ignored. Yes, it is unfortunate that Jews are here during Hanukkah, but as a part-Jewish person I can tell you that it is not the same thing as Christmas tradition-wise. I’ll give my Grandmother a call, but that’s about it. Christmas, however, is a huge family affair. It is also the second most religious Christian holiday, while religiously Hanukkah is relatively minor. In addition, it is simply unfeasible to give Hanukkah off, consider it is eight nights and usually right before finals. Christmas is a national holiday that most Americans celebrate with their families. I don’t think it’s a fair comparison.

    Half of my Jewish friends just eat a couple of latkes, maybe put up a little electric menorah and call it a day, and even the ones who live right outside the city didn’t stop by their homes.

    In contrast, about a third of my relatives don’t even believe in God, but still fly/drive out to my home every December 24th to eat, catch up, and be together. This is the only day a year I get to see my extended family.

    People are making the point that we are still back by Christmas Day, but for many families I know, the 24th is the day of celebration. That’s when most churches have their services. I, like many of my classmates, am forced to fly out on the 24th. I am getting home on that evening and am being forced to miss Mass. Many students have excused absences to go home during the High Holy Days, and nobody would dare try to deny people that right. But professors are not going to allow anyone to reschedule their exams on the 23rd.

    So if you’re going to pull the “well we don’t really make concessions of any religion,” that is simply not true. While I’m not devout, there are some people who are incredibly upset that they have no choice but to miss Mass.

    While I honestly have bigger grievances with the University than the calendar, it just seems another example of administration being oblivious or apathetic to what is clearly a student life concern.

  • non-Christian says:

    @non-Christian As a Jew who is used to the unfortunate reality of hardly being able to celebrate Hannuka without a string of finals (last year was an exception), I support the protest simply for the reason that our schedule, and our reading period, should have consistency. We should never lose the consequential “week” to anything as trivial as the calendar date of Labor Day on a given year. If starting before the first Tuesday of September is what is required to give the academic calendar a sense of regularity and to provide students with an secure opportunity to review coursework before finals– and hence to be assessed more meaningfully and to more meaningfully conclude the semester– then so be it.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous get some money to the holocust survivors before calling yourself a jew

      1. non-Christian says:

        @non-Christian I hope you’re joking. In any case, learn how to spell “Holocaust.”

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous to those that say \suck it up\ where the hell did you get your life values- it’s seriously sad that you don’t value this time of year or going home to spend time with you family and friends, regardless of your religion.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous not in your way, ill be you its really boring in your hometown and you are probably one of those annoying people who put a columbia sticker on the back windshield of your car, probably you are from one of those….forgive me for being too ad hominem…..let me just say that I wish those who put multiple stickers in the back of their car, with the colleges attended, something i was once but am no longer guilty of, is not pleasant. Sorry. What is pleasant is for people to be just people.” Cant we all just get along? ” Pop cult reference

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Go to sleep. You’re a mess.

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous exams this late, on the contrary, are unprecedented.
    look at any university in Europe- for them finishing on the 19th in considered finishing really late.

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous the important fact, is though the college is at fault for this calender- it won’t make provision for those that it affects- which is not acceptable when we pay over 40,000 dollars a year to attend- there is no excuse for not facilitating the rescheduling of exams

  • Poet says:


    1. Toep says:


      1. Eopt says:


        1. Oept says:


          1. Peot says:


          2. James Downie says:

            @James Downie Careful now, Penelope.

  • K&B says:


  • Wait: says:

    @Wait: does this campus exist for the students or for jobs which.. wouldn’t exist.. without the students at the university….

  • harmony hunta says:

    @harmony hunta will harmony hall be closed over break?
    I sure hope not

  • WAKE UP says:


    1. NOOOOOOO says:


  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous you really dont know much about the alumni network. Are you actually an alum?? Schooling is expensive in this nation, wake up to reality

  • ? says:

    @? so rude! everyone stop it!

  • holy shit! says:

    @holy shit! long discussion: i’ll read it when I’m not cramming. As one of the people calling for bwog to create forums though, I wanted to clarify:

    I meant adding another tab up at the top next to “home, art, hawk, etc.” and addings “forums” there (or fora if you want to be pretentious). Then that link would lead to something like this: (except that the topics would not be personal-finance related, they’d just be whatever the community members wanna discus (Manhatanville, Barnard, Butler minutia, PrezBo, etc.)

    I realize these kinds of things probably take a lot of time for your webmaster to put together but I figured I’d throw in my $0.02

    1. me again says:




      alright, it’s outta my system and I did not disturb the den of misery that is my room in butler right now, by airing my oh-so-articulate grievances

      To any other lost souls slogging it out in butler right now – let us persevere, the end is nigh.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous 1. butler is becoming toxic, just walk around, sludge.

    2. prez bo: did anyone ever find out whatever happened to his housekeeper that sued because she was attacked by her supervisor?

  • bc2011 says:

    @bc2011 I dont understand why it is so hard to start a week earlier. CUNY and all the other colleges in NYC do it. I do live in NYC but it is not fair to those who live far away to take a flight the 23rd or 24th because prices are ridiculous.

    and also Latinos celebrate Christmas the 24th not the 25th so taking a flight on the 24th would cause you to miss out on all the celebrations go on.

    this is ridiculous; we are the ones paying. we should be the ones taken into consideration when they make the academic calendar.

  • hmm says:

    @hmm i had one late final scheduled for the 22nd, and our professor decided to give students the option to take it on the last day of class instead.
    that could be an option. professors could offer another, earlier time to take the exam for people who would be seriously burdened by an exam so close to christmas. say, last day of class, or a time at reading week. and others who dont give a shit can take it later.
    i know its not a perfect solution (in b4 “BUT OMG WE NEED OUR STUDY DAYS”) but just an idea.

  • Anon says:

    @Anon I am sympathetic to all sides of this argument.

    But it’s up to the administration to change this and there’s a really simple way to compel them to do that.

    Just gently remind the administration that each year’s class “gift” will be significantly smaller, considering how shit they treat us.

  • Never again will you says:

    @Never again will you Never again will you spend $200,000+ with a company and have such shit customer service. If you spent this much in such a small amount of time with any other business, you’d get some kind of valued customer award. But instead, the opinion of students are completely worthless to the incompetent people who makes decisions on our behalf.

  • Fallacy says:

    @Fallacy of logic much?

    Go back to arguing school, troll.

  • Hindu Gal says:

    @Hindu Gal Screw Winter Break! We should get 2 weeks off for Diwali. This year I couldn’t celebrate the entirety of Diwali because I had class.

    1. this is says:

      @this is in response to the diwali comments above. hilarious. i believe that as a secular institution columbia should ignore any and all religious observances, if it starts picking and choosing which religion’s holidays to observe then thats when discrimination occurs. columbia should observe US holidays because it is in america (obviously) and it does give christmas off (which is for some unconstitutional reason a federal holiday ) but christmas eve isn’t, so technically we are getting that off as a bonus. i mean, columbia holds classes the day before thanksgiving which holds no real significance, just as dec 23 holds no real significance. if you want your religious holidays observed so badly then go to a religious university like notre dame or georgetown.

  • honestly says:

    @honestly wtf is diwali? I hope you’re kidding hindu gal

    1. diwali says:

      @diwali So put on your saris
      It’s time to celebrate Diwali
      Everybody looks so jolly
      But it’s not Christmas, it’s Diwali

  • you guys says:

    @you guys are just self-righteous lil trust fund brats calm down and stop acting like you get everything handed to you on a silver platter

  • cc2011 says:

    @cc2011 i want to cry right now
    i won’t be able to get home until 11pm on the night of 25th
    that means that by the time i actually get to see my parents, it would be like the early morning of 26th. this is the earliest time i can get home without spending extra $800 on my flight just so i can get home 10 hours early, and i am already spending $400 extra than last year’s flight costs.
    I am the only child so my parents would have to spend a lonely Christmas as well since they are fucking paying $60,000 per year to send me to this school.
    i don’t understand how some people don’t get this
    that i should suck it up????
    well i am god damn sucking it all up right now, thank you very much!!!
    i am taking the exams on the scheduled time
    i am not even suggesting that we should go on mass protest against finals ans just ditch them all for good
    what the hell is wrong with this school? what the hell is wrong with the people who think even trying to change something or even trying to generate ideas and share opinions with the student body is an unjustified form of whining? why do i even go to school with these people?

  • alum says:

    @alum After you graduate, you’ll realize these little petty things are well, petty and little. Trust me, you will miss this “awful place” so enjoy the time you have now at Columbia rather than hating on it.

  • all you international says:

    @all you international students need to stop crying and whining so what if you don’t make it for christmas, the fact that you steal spots from American citizens is something that you take for granted…so remember that before you think you run this schooll

    1. naw bud says:

      @naw bud bigoted idiots like you steal spots from intelligent, conscientious people from everywhere, who should’ve been admitted waay before you

  • a frustrated jew says:

    @a frustrated jew I certainly agree that exams shouldn’t end this late for a variety of reasons that have everything to do with traffic and flights.

    However, your argument about religious traditions frustrates me.

    I agree – Channukah isn’t a terribly important holiday by anyone’s standards. So don’t compare it to Christmas. Let’s take the High Holy Days you mentioned, or Passover, perhaps, because that involves a big meal.

    You claim that we get classes off to go home for the High Holy Days – I can tell you that many people take classes off, but we still miss the classes themselves and are forced into making up the work in a compressed amount of time. I made it home for Rosh Hashannah this year (only because it was conveniently over a weekend) but couldn’t get home for Yom Kippur. And it sucked. I had nobody to go to services with, nobody to break the fast with. It was horrible.

    And for Passover? I couldn’t go home last year (and I don’t live very far away). And so I missed the seders with my family and that was horrible too.

    What I’m trying to say is, it’s painful to be away from your family for big holidays. I know that. But there’s this weird sense of entitlement, that Columbia is taking away your basic rights by holding you here until the 23rd or 24th. And they’re in the wrong, we can agree on that, and classes should have started earlier, etc. But your right to Christmas is no greater than my right to Passover.

    So none of us should be here now, but can we base the arguments on flight prices and highway traffic instead of on religion?

    1. flight prices says:

      @flight prices i really do think these “flight prices” and “high way traffic” arguments are just thinly veiled excuses for a truly religious-based argument. yes, it sucks that people will have to pay more money and it would be really nice to be home in time for christmas and not have to pay a ton of money for it, but the wednesday before thanksgiving is the most traveled day in the calendar (the worst traffic of the year, and also very high ticket prices) and i have never heard anybody complain about not getting that wednesday off for those reasons…

      1. ... says:

        @... Most international students do not celebrate Thanksgiving. Some others don’t leave campus because it’s such a short break.

        1. ... says:

          @... Okay… many Columbia students do not celebrate Christmas either…

      2. hmmm says:

        @hmmm I do agree that these arguments are a thin veil but I wouldn’t say they’re for a religious based argument. I would posit that the majority of people who celebrate Christmas aren’t religious. What they are a veil for is whiny people who are used to getting everything they want actually having to make a compromise for once in their lives. Before you attack me I am still at school and am flying for 15 hours after my final tomorrow.

        Yes, I am annoyed I am still at school and all my friends are home.

        Yes, I am annoyed that I have to pay more for my ticket than I normally would.

        No, I’m not going to have a meltdown because I don’t have the few days before Christmas to “get ready for Christmas”.

        Wake up! When we all graduate and eventually start working we may be visiting family in other cities for Christmas. When this happens I guarantee you’re not going to get off of work a week before Christmas. Get used to it now and the transition won’t be as bad.

      3. 2010 says:

        @2010 I absolutely have heard people complain about not having the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off. There wasn’t a Facebook petition about it, mind you, but people have griped just the same. This was more so the case in previous years, as I think this year the big focus was on winter break.

        You’re right that Thanksgiving Eve is the most traveled day of the year, and it is true that there are many more people in this country who celebrate Thanksgiving than Christmas. But the difference is that if you really wanted to (and many people do), you can usually skip out on that Wednesday class and go home early. The repercussions of skipping a final exam are far greater.

        1. Agreed says:

          @Agreed Most professors take that Wednesday off themselves.

  • haha says:

    @haha amen

  • let's not forget says:

    @let's not forget what the freshmen and sophomores fail to realize is that even if you forgo food and shelter in the dead of winter to try to change policies the administration is still going to … ignore you. and possibly order pizza to your tent.
    i supported the hunger strikers.

    1. CC11 says:

      @CC11 the problem with the hunger strikers, as with most protesting at columbia, was that they did not have a defined plan or focused points. even if the administration had deigned to listen to them, there was no way they could have fixed everything the hunger strikers wanted them to.

      on the other hand, they did have a nifty octopus.

      at least this time students have a clear grievance and some have even proposed solutions.

  • William says:

    @William In this thread:
    Whiny people (myself included) whining about other whiners

  • lonely says:

    @lonely in butler. looking for fun. you know what im talking about. stack 12 at 3?


    1. LOOKING says:


    2. I'm waiting. says:

      @I'm waiting. For You.

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