Allison Wordes- Staff Writer
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a handful of students gathered in 55th Ave. coffee shop to watch the film “Selma” in honor of Dr. King’s life.
Although these students might appreciate movies in general, perhaps they also have genuine interest in the meaning of the day and want to take time to ponder the means by which King changed the nation, and the world. Throughout most of his life, King promoted racial equality, and his methods of nonviolence earned the attention of many people, especially the authorities.
While many institutions offer MLKJ Day off for its members, Dordt does not give students and faculty the day off for this holiday. Yet the campus does take certain Fridays off. This decisions brings one to consider why the college does not call off class on this particular day, a day that, this year, also happened to herald foul weather and ice-coated sidewalks.
“As soon as you take the day off – especially if it is on a Friday or a Monday – the number of people on campus will be significantly reduced, making it much more difficult to have meaningful activities planned,” said Jim Bos, Registrar staff member and the Director of Institutional Research. Bos then pointed out that many professors bring up topics related to Martin Luther King Jr. day in their classes.
Madison De Wolde, a freshman from Canada, watched the “Selma” showing at 55th. Being a Canadian native, she agrees that King’s day should be recognized but pointed out that it is not any different than other weekday holidays, like Columbus Day.
“Honestly, I’d never heard of Martin Luther King Jr. day before,” De Wolde said. When she heard about the movie it piqued her interest, so she went along with some friends. The movie described King’s story, she said, in an unbiased, factual way.
Speaking towards other American holidays, De Wolde said that Labor Day mystifies her. If any day should be observed via no class, she said it should be that day, for it is meant to honor those who work and should be a time of rest.
Bos said the academic calendar works best when classes are as scheduled on lesser holidays like Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans’ Day. Dordt College created Reading Days, the Fridays mentioned previously, are meant to fill the awkward time between the starting of a new semester and mid-term break, giving students a long weekend to refresh and catch up.
Dordt recognizes the basic federal holidays, including Christmas, Memorial Day and New Year’s. Other breaks are scheduled around those days. Although Easter Sunday is on a normal weekend, there will be a chapel service on the Friday before so that Dordt can celebrate as a community, said Bos.