Pro: U Correct in Canceling February Classes?

2001 Christmas vacation is now dead, God rest its soul. But even as we dry our tears and attempt to move on, some among us would dishonor its memory by complaining about the prospect of even more time off in just a few weeks.

I don’t get it. A deep instinct, eternally burned into my student’s soul from the first days of afternoon Kindergarten, tells me that any vacation from school, regardless of when, where or how long, is good.

Some say the placement of the Olympic break in the middle of the semester will hurt students used to hitting the books non-stop for months at a time. The chance to relax after midterms, however, will actually be a huge boon to most students. For those who get behind early in the semester, it’s a great chance to get caught up on papers and readings before attacking finals.

The opportunity to relive Christmas vacation and catch up on studying isn’t the only reason for canceling classes during the Olympics, however. Holding classes would deprive students of a once-in-a lifetime educational opportunity.

Few U students will ever be personally present in a city hosting the Olympic Games again. The Olympics don’t come to the United States very often and definitely won’t come to the Intermountain West in the foreseeable future. If students blow their chance to become a part of history now, they may never get the same opportunity again.

Participation in the Olympics will support the university’s educational mission. Canceling classes allows students to learn in a slightly different atmosphere.

Granted, few students will gain useful, practical experience from Olympic involvement. Not even business majors (let alone engineering majors) will learn much from waiting tables or collecting ticket stubs. But a university education is about more than just technical training.

People come to a big university to receive a broad liberal education. Temporary jobs and volunteer positions during the Olympics will allow students who spend too much time holed up in the Marriott Library to gain new experience.

In addition to helping students, canceling classes will also help out the city. Estimates of volunteers and temporary workers needed for the Olympics run as high as 80,000.

Businesses around town can’t supply those people by just canceling operations for four weeks. If they did, the city would shut down. Who better than a whole army of Utes to provide the city with the labor needed to stage such a mammoth event? What ever happened to JFK’s “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?”

Professors complain about how the break disrupts their regular patterns, and students whine about how they won’t be able to remember anything after the break. Here’s a little piece of advice for these people: Get over it.

Professors can spend an extra hour or two typing their syllabi and can cut out a few of the old war stories to condense lectures. Students, who normally forget everything they’ve ever studied as soon as finals are over, can actually attempt to learn instead of just cramming class material.

The bottom line is that there’s just no other option. A feasible alternative to canceling classes doesn’t exist. Leaving school for a few weeks may be an inconvenience, but imagine how much your head would be screaming for Excedrin if you had to spend three hours simply commuting to campus every day. It just wouldn’t work.

Administrators made the right decision in canceling classes during the Olympics. The benefits are many and the drawbacks few. For almost everyone at the university, the passing of Christmas vacation is a cause for mourning.

Fortunately, the prospect of more time off in a few weeks brings peace to the afflicted soul.

John welcomes feedback at [email protected] or send letters to the editor to [email protected].