The Yale College Council is trying to save Christmas.
Friday afternoon on Beinecke Plaza, approximately 50 students gathered to join the YCC for “Carols and Cocoa,” drinking hot chocolate and singing holiday songs in protest of the 2015-2016 provisional calendar. The calendar—which has drawn significant criticism from students citing concerns of expensive plane tickets and even a chance of missing the holidays—shifts this year’s calendar forward six days, with finals slated to end on Dec. 23, 2015. A recent YCC poll asking students whether they would favor moving the provisional calendar back a week received 2,721 respondents, 92 percent of whom favored the initiative.
YCC President Michael Herbert ’16, clad in a Santa hat, led the students gathered in roughly 20 minutes’ worth of holiday songs like “Jingle Bells,” “Let It Snow” and “Dreidel,” ending with “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” Referring to the movie “Elf,” Herbert assured the crowd that singing protests have worked before and could again be successful in this case.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,” he quoted.
Herbert said he was very happy with the turnout, while noting that there were several other protests going on the same day, and that he would be very disappointed should there be no change to the current plan for the calendar. While the University’s Calendar Committee has been discussing several options — such as altering fall break, Thanksgiving break or reading period — Herbert said that extensive deliberation this year has shown that students are very happy with this year’s calendar. He does not see a reason why administrators would choose to change it, he said, adding that the best option would be to simply shift the calendar a week.
The YCC plans to release a report including faculty feedback on the provisional calendar, in addition to input from summer session and athletics personnel, later today, he added.
Five students interviewed at the event said they hope the calendar will change, and three said they were unaware of why next year’s calendar was changed from this year’s.
Natalia Dashan ’16 said the proposed calendar is so outrageous that she cannot imagine that it won’t be changed. Sinclair Williams ’17 also said he was upset, adding that the only satisfactory change would be to shift the entire calendar back a week, as the YCC has proposed.
University secretary and vice president for student life Kimberly Goff-Crews, who chairs the Calendar Committee, said the group recognizes the challenges presented by the provisional calendar, but also that there are benefits and challenges to all possibilities. The committee hopes to make a recommendation soon, she added.