I am misrepresented in Monday’s article, “Why Yale labors on Labor Day” (Sept. 7), as “a member of the committee that draws up the academic calendar.” I do not hold and never held such a position. When approached for this article, I responded as I have always responded: as an individual faculty member concerned about keeping classroom teaching our highest priority.
From the time that the calendar was revised and the fall semester compressed to conclude before the winter recess, I have argued against the shortening of the fall semester by two days so that classes meeting twice a week have 25 in place of 26 sessions.
The need we now have, every few years, to begin classes before Labor Day is a reality that should contribute to the awareness of the futility of the argument against regularly beginning classes before Labor Day and holding classes on Labor Day. It is more than time to institute the calendar reform that will regularly have classes begin the last Monday in August so that there are 13 full weeks of classes to the fall, as there already are in the spring.
My own position is “Labor Day neutral.” That is, if there is sentiment that classes should not be held on Labor Day, we could squeeze in an extra Monday at the end of the calendar and have Reading Period and Exam Period extend one more day. But with or without classes on Labor Day, we must reform the fall calendar to restore the integrity of the 13 full-week semester.
The writer is the Karl Young professor of English.