Yale may have a fleet of highly intelligent scholars, but even all those combined IQ points couldn’t flawlessly understand the schedule change for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In observance of the Jan. 21 holiday, all classes that usually meet on Monday will be moved to Friday Jan. 18. To compensate for the displaced Friday classes, all classes that usually meet on Friday will meet Monday April 29.
And Dean of Administrative Affairs John Meeske said he received a flurry of phone calls over winter break from professors who were confused about the scheduling change. Meeske added that they were mostly upset about the confusion, not the change itself.
Meeske said one of the biggest issues with the schedule change is making sure that everyone is informed. The administration is e-mailing students and faculty and putting up posters to get the word out, he said.
The faculty voted on this new schedule in a meeting last year, and the change was not simply an administrative initiative, Meeske said.
“[This was] discussed in two faculty meetings last year,” Meeske said. “We presented several possible ways, and this was ultimately adopted by the faculty.”
Meeske said the reason for the schedule change was to make sure that students had ample time to shop Monday classes. Few classes meet only on Fridays. This way, no courses will lose any classroom time.
Political science professor Jose Cheibub said the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day outweighed the inconvenience of the schedule change.
“I have to teach Monday class on Friday. It’s nothing too inconvenient,” Cheibub said. “If the objective is to celebrate the holiday, then something needs to be done. I think it’s a good move.”
But not all professors were pleased with the change.
“It’s a problem for us because we have a very tight schedule,” said professor Pierre Capretz, who teaches intensive first-year French. “The head of the department said that [the schedule change] would be a problem for us, but apparently his objections were not retained.”
Meeske said professors who commute to New Haven only one or two days a week could face the most inconveniences.
Perspectives on Science director John Carlson said he had to rearrange his entire course because Perspectives only meets on Fridays. Carlson said the biggest problem will be holding a lecture the Friday before spring break and holding the follow-up discussion section the Friday after break.
“It forced us to make a hard decision on how to schedule the course,” Carlson said. “But it’s a good cause, so we were happy to do it.”
Yale College Council President Vidhya Prabhakaran ’03 said student representatives actually suggested this solution, and he has received mostly positive feedback.
“In fact, both we and the student reps on the committee suggested [this solution],” Prabhakaran said. “The idea is that it gives everyone an extra day of shopping — Not every class that meets on Monday meets on a Friday.”
The Martin Luther King Day Coalition is planning several events for Monday, Prabhakaran said. In addition, Yale President Richard Levin will give a speech at the opening ceremonies for the day’s activities.