Recognizing Holidays on College Campuses
The frustration and struggle of being absent from a college class is real. Whether the reason is being under the weather or wanting to go out with family to enjoy the weather, it can be stressful to miss a day only to have the workload pile up for another night.
HFC and many other colleges across the nation have a number of specific dates and holidays where campus is closed to celebrate. Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day are all prominent and permanent “holidays” that cancel classes. But what about religious holidays? The semester is thankfully over before Christmas, but that is not the only religious holiday that is celebrated by the multi-cultural population of the United States.
There are around 3.3 million Muslims currently living in the United States, yet their two holidays of the year are left unrecognized by public college campuses. Eid Al-Fitr occurs every year after the holy month of Ramadan, and Eid Al-Adha is typically about two months after Eid Al-Fitr. Eid Al-Adha was just recently celebrated on September 12th, and is known as “the bigger Eid” since it generally lasts four days. There are school districts, such as Dearborn Public Schools, that give students a break on Eid to celebrate with their families, but no public colleges or universities.
Henry Ford College doesn’t recognize either of the two Eids as a holiday on campus, therefore, class is to be attended on this day unless otherwise stated by an instructor. HFC has a tremendously large Muslim population that make up a high percentage of the student body, and the Eid vibes were disrupted for many students because of the importance of attendance. Of course, there were those who had the privilege of skipping a day of class; however, a sacrifice for their education was made on a day that celebrates a sacrifice made for God. No student should be faced with a decision between their education and their religious traditions, and campuses should acknowledge their right to practice their religion by granting a break to celebrate their holidays.