Last updateWed, 15 Nov 2017 2pm


Federal Holidays and Private Institutions

Do We Deserve More Holidays Off?

Presidents' Day, officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government, is a celebration for all the past and current presidents of the United States. The holiday is celebrated every third Monday in Feb. and has been celebrated on this day for over 100 years.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a holiday celebrating the extraordinary actions of a civil rights activist who played a major role in the American civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The United States has recognized this holiday since 1986.

There’s Labor Day, Veterans Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and many more national holidays recognized by the federal government. Despite certain holidays being federally recognized, individual states and their respected educational institutions regulate whether the schools have classes or not.

This past Presidents’ Day Feb. 20, Monmouth University, a private institution, did not have the day off like many other schools. Every student’s dream is to have classes off every holiday and as many holidays as possible within the school year.

While a break from work or class is worthwhile, are we truly celebrating these great feats and influential people?

One of the most common reasons academic institutions still hold classes during some of these holidays is to make up for lost snow days. It is up to the private institution or the public school district to hold classes on a holiday.

In California, where a lot of schools don’t get snow days, or even a flake of snow during the winter season for that matter, it is state law not to hold classes on all of the ‘major’ holidays including Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, etc.

For us, the university chose to continue to hold classes most likely to make up for the snow days we’ve already had to take. Located on the east coast, it’s likely to say there are at least a few snow days every winter.

We might think of those days as days off then, but when holidays like Presidents’ Day come around I urge you all to remember why we don’t have off.

Private Institutions get more chances to make their own rules and regulations than public schools get. Public schools are a part of a district or a group of schools that is ruled by a committee called the Board of Education. They govern all the public schools and have state funding, whereas private institutions fund themselves through costs of admission.

Aside from the school’s ability to decide if they will hold classes or not, in an ideal world I’d like to think that we don’t even need these days off.

People don’t do too much of actual celebrating or pay any tribute to those who made a difference or are being remembered, so why take away a perfectly good day of work, class, or productivity?

Then, I remembered I was a 21-years-young senioritis survivor that still wears his pajamas inside out and puts a spoon under his pillow just hoping for a snow day, questioning why my parents got off work but I still had to go to class last Monday.

Americans work hard, whether it is in the classroom, in the office, or elsewhere. We look forward to some down-time in whatever form it may come.

The United States passed a law in 1978 called the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which allowed for changes to the then current national holiday schedule. The bill changes three major holidays to fall on a given Monday rather than their respective dates, one of them being Presidents’ Day. Why make such a random change? Well, even the government wanted some days off and thought the hardworking people of Americans deserved more three-day weekends.

Unfortunately, when private institutions face a national holiday, the private schools prevail and ultimately get to choose to celebrate the holiday or not.

Frankly, there are too many ‘holidays’ to keep up with and it is not worth the hustle and bustle to wonder why we don’t get the day off, especially at Monmouth University.

It does not surprise me at all that our university chose not to take the easy way out and give people a break. God forbid we close for a day and Monmouth can’t squeeze any money out of us.

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151