Dear Members of the St. Olaf Community,
This past spring, a student petition requested a change of the academic calendar for 2013-14 that was approved in 2009 and has been posted on the Web site since then. The petition asked that the 2013-14 academic calendar include a break for Good Friday and Easter Monday. Due to the way the 2014 calendar falls, it is impossible to fit in both the required number of spring semester class days to meet our accreditation and faculty-mandated requirements:(http://www.stolaf.edu/catalog/1314/academicregs/counting-courses.html) and also have what has become in recent years the customary Good Friday-Easter Monday break in addition to a week of spring break just a couple of weeks earlier. The decision to set the calendar as currently posted was not made lightly; many individuals and groups, including the President’s Leadership Team, the Dean’s Council, the Pastors’ Office, and the Curriculum Committee, discussed the issue at length in 2009. In the end, the calendar as it now stands was seen as a welcome opportunity to celebrate Holy Week and Easter on campus as a community.
As a result of the student petition of last spring, the calendar was thoroughly discussed again, and the student concerns were considered carefully. After considerable further discussion by those listed above, it was decided to keep the calendar as posted, which retains classes on both Friday and Monday: http://wp.stolaf.edu/registrar/files/2013/06/2013-14calendar.pdf Those who reconsidered the calendar reaffirmed the validity of the reasons for the original decision: the integrity of the academic term and the conviction that celebrating Holy Week and Easter on campus as a community is of value.
Plans are already well underway for worship services for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday, and Easter Sunday. As Pastor Marohl stated to me in an email of June 18, 2013, “We are not approaching this schedule as an ‘anti-church’ schedule. On the contrary, it gives us an opportunity to worship throughout Holy Week as a worshiping community.”
Those who discussed and reaffirmed this schedule are aware that traditionally, Good Friday is a staff holiday at St. Olaf. It is hoped that offices may be able to adjust so as to allow some staff to take Good Friday and others Easter Monday as the designated holiday.