Friday, November 4, 2011

Observe holiday, honor veterans

Columnist urges amendment to academic calendar

By Charles Dzah, Guest Columnist

The U.S. government will mark Veterans Day, Nov. 11, with special tributes and reflections on the sacrifices of all military veterans, dead and living. However, Pacific Lutheran University will not observe this federal holiday. PLU will be open for business. Students and faculty will be expected to attend classes. This practice is unacceptable and must be changed.

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Veterans Day provides an opportunity to honor veterans. On this day, there are several activities to thank veterans organized in communities surrounding PLU. The Students Veterans Association will hold an event from noon to 1 p.m. in the Mary Baker Russell Lagerquist Hall. This is open to all students, but only a portion will be able to attend because of classes during this period.

PLU administration must establish Nov. 11 as a holiday and allow its community to participate in activities organized to celebrate this day. PLU’s change will honor students and employees who have served in the military.

PLU observes Easter, Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Day. Spring Break is a week-long hiatus from school activities. Why not add Veterans Day?

The governing body may feel an added holiday reduces time needed for successful completion of the university’s programs. PLU could easily add a day to the start or end of the semester.

PLU should avoid sticking to unbending old rules and become flexible with its academic calendar.

PLU boasts an excellent Army ROTC program, which prepares students for future military careers. After completion of their service, ROTC members will join the ranks of military veterans in this country. What message is PLU sending to these students when it does not honor Veterans Day? PLU’s lack of recognition does not promote a good image and could discourage other students from joining the ROTC program.

On Veterans Day, public educational institutions grant a mandatory break for students, staff and faculty. Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University make Nov. 11 a holiday on campus.

These two private universities, similar to PLU in structure, voluntarily recognize Veterans Day. PLU can follow this example.

PLU’s mission is to prepare students for successful careers and lifetime of service to others. PLU can expand this vision by showing it values the selfless service rendered by veterans.

PLU has a challenge to amend its annual calendar.

This should be seen as an opportunity.

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