Good Friday not so good for students who live far away

By Jermaine Pigee

NIU has never given time off for Easter and Good Friday, nor does it plan to any time soon.

“I do not envision Good Friday becoming an off day,” said Paul Stoddard, executive secretary for NIU’s University Council. “Good Friday and Easter are strictly religious holidays, and NIU is a state institution. I’d point out that students do not get Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, or Eid – two different Muslim holy days – off, unless they fall on the weekend.”

Stoddard also said during his time at NIU, the school has never closed for Good Friday.

“The rationale for a mid-March break is that it splits the semester evenly and is similar to what most places do,” he said.

The only way students can get Good Friday off is if it falls over Spring Break.

“Spring Break is scheduled at the same time every year – in the middle of the spring semester, which is always the middle of March,” said Virginia Cassidy, vice provost for Academic Planning and Development. “Easter can occur between mid-March and late April, and the date changes every year. If we had a Spring Break in March and an Easter break, the spring semester would have to be extended an additional week to meet the requirement for a 15-week semester, plus one week for exams.”

The chance of Easter falling during Spring Break, however, is highly unlikely.

“During my 15 years at the university, I can’t remember having those two events happening at the same time,” said Sammie Doty, admissions records officer for Registration and Records.

Some students said not having Good Friday off is a major inconvenience.

“Not having Good Friday off definitely puts students in a difficult situation, because many families see it as an important holiday, and we shouldn’t have to choose which is more important: going to class or being with the family,” said Darrah Haverman, a junior physical therapy major. “I think it is very inconvenient to have class Friday, then return on Monday, especially for me, since I live in St. Louis. It is a four-hour-and-15-minute drive! It makes for a very short visit and a very long drive.”

Senior sociology major Elizabeth Hamilton agrees with Haverman’s views.

“It is a huge inconvenience for me, because my son’s day care is closed, so I have to drive him to his grandparents, come back for classes, and then go home for Easter,” she said.

Jermaine Pigee is a campus reporter for the Northern Star.