Not all profs hold class on Homecoming Friday

by Rebekah Rombom | 10/29/04 5:00am

Even though today is a day of classes according to the Dartmouth term calendar, many students will be able to begin their Homecoming festivities early, as several professors have cancelled class or opted to use the x-hour in lieu of holding regularly scheduled classes.

The Principles on the College's calendar mandate that there be at least 47 days of classes per term.

"When you're on a quarter system, there is limited flexibility -- for every day off, there is a day on," said College Registrar Polly Griffin.

The Principles have been revised only twice since they were written in 1974, and they have never included a provision to make the Friday before Homecoming weekend an official College holiday.

In spite of the regular schedule, Latin professor Holly Haynes, who teaches at 8:45 and 10 on Friday mornings, decided to use the x-hour for both classes instead of teaching on Friday.

According to Haynes, she cancelled class under "pressure from the students, [because] they said they weren't going to show up."

However, Haynes said that since she has scheduled class during this week's x-hour, the students won't be missing any instruction.

Louis Shapiro, a visiting mathematics professor from Howard University, is not of the same mindset. Shapiro said that while he would not administer an exam this Friday, he believes that holding class is necessary due to the pace at which material in his Math 9 class is covered. And unlike Haynes, he doesn't think attendance is going to be a problem.

"No students have approached me about Homecoming yet," he said, "and I certainly hope everybody's not drunk by two in the afternoon."

The College has never routinely given students a day off before Homecoming, but for at least 40 years no classes were held the Friday afternoon before the Dartmouth-Harvard football game.

From 1964 through 2002, the Friday afternoon before the game was declared a College holiday. Though the half-day off was presumably to allow Dartmouth students time to travel to Harvard and cheer on the Big Green, students had the half-day off even when the game was at home.

This practice was changed in November 2002, when it was decided that no classes would be held the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in exchange for holding a full day of classes the Friday before the Dartmouth-Harvard football game.

Anne O'Hagen '06 prefers things this way and said that she enjoys having an extra day for the Thanksgiving holiday. Still, she said, "I really appreciate it when professors cancel class. I think it's sweet."

Even though none of his professors have cancelled class, Michael Kreicher '08 is not worried about his schedule interfering with this weekend's revelry.

"My class is at 8:45; so if I'm really tired I can just skip it. I only have class until 12; so it's not going to hinder my Homecoming enjoyment," he said.