Provost announces liberal leave on Monday for Georgetown University

In an e-mail that he has just sent to the student body, Provost James O’Donnell has announced  that classes will be held on a liberal leave schedule President’s Day, Monday, February 15.

The University will make every effort to open on Friday, he said, and he has asked the Council of Associate Deans to offer a make-up day of class later in the semester. From his e-mail:

We will make every effort to be open as far as possible on Friday: there will be a separate announcement tomorrow, but watch the weather and the roads and assume that we will be trying hard to hold classes.

Classes *WILL* now be held on Monday, Presidents Day, with liberal leave for those who cannot attend, because after almost a week without classroom work, the need to get back in the routine is urgent.  I have also asked the Council of Associate Deans, working with faculty leadership, to recommend one further make-up day later in the term.  I hope to be able to announce that date next week, once we know for certain how much we have lost this week.

Update 8:12 p.m.: Shown above is Georgetown using Twitter to cancel President’s Day. For all of America. There’s already a Facebook group protesting this decision with 260 367 454 1,552?! members and counting: “Protect Our National Holiday! Say No To Monday Classes!!!

Read his full e-mail after the jump.

Dear colleagues and students,

The blizzard is ending, but the cleanup has not really begun – except for marvelous work done on campus and in the neighborhood by our own facilities staff! The official announcement will report that we are closed again tomorrow, Thursday. This note is meant to provide a little context and help for your planning.

We will make every effort to be open as far as possible on Friday: there will be a separate announcement tomorrow, but watch the weather and the roads and assume that we will be trying hard to hold classes.

Classes *WILL* now be held on Monday, Presidents Day, with liberal leave for those who cannot attend, because after almost a week without classroom work, the need to get back in the routine is urgent. I have also asked the Council of Associate Deans, working with faculty leadership, to recommend one further make-up day later in the term. I hope to be able to announce that date next week, once we know for certain how much we have lost this week.

Units with non-traditional schedules (including MBA, GPPI, SCS) will make separate announcement to their faculty and students about makeup  arrangements. So we will all have to work a little harder now. There will be make-up days and classes and extra chores to keep the administrative work on track: people will have to adjust plans. I encourage managers and faculty to be generous and compassionate, but we must all expect to be challenged further and inconvenienced a bit. Students in particular should know that faculty making alternate assignments have every right to expect they are completed, subject to the physical limitations of the weather: those credits on your transcript depend on getting in a whole semester of work!

But just because we have lost classroom days, it does not mean we lose opportunities for academic work. I have written today to faculty to encourage them to be creative today, tomorrow, and for the rest of the term as appropriate in finding nontraditional ways to interact with students and keep the semester moving. I hope students and faculty alike will welcome the opportunity to find ingenious ways to work together. Blackboard, Skype, old-fashioned telephone conference calls, and new-fashioned use of social media can all play a part – and many faculty and students are there already. A blizzard is a good time for imagination, intellect, and reflection.

With warmest good wishes,

Jim O’Donnell

Provost

Photo from the Vox Populi Photos Flickr group by user iciuti

61 Comments on “Provost announces liberal leave on Monday for Georgetown University

  1. @@bird

    I’m a phoenix, death is not but a glorious transformation into a new bird that eats Subway scraps and acts like a smartass in the Vox comments

  2. I believe the decision process to hold classes on Monday went as follows:

    Degioia: Hey Jimmy!
    O’Donnell: Dude!
    Degioia: We’ve missed an entire week of school and we probably ought to make it up.
    O’Donnell: I know! Let’s fuck over the students by holding class on President’s Day. Not only will they have class on a day they’re not supposed to, they also can’t enjoy Valentine’s Day (night) fully. It’s genius!
    Degioia: Nice! It’s not as if we get any anyway. But what about students who already made travel plans?
    O’Donnell: We can put everyone on Liberal Leave. That way we can cover our asses but still force students to go to class.
    Degioia: You just made me wet!

  3. Multiple exams on Monday? How many kittens have you drawn and quartered to be blessed with that privilege?

    Stop lying to us. And stop spending your Saturday nights in Lau.

  4. They shouldn’t be taking ANY days away. Period. If James J. O’Donnell is so worried about missing days and having students actually work for their credit, then he should convince the university to stop accrediting classes that meet once per week for 90 minutes. Like Donna Brazile’s class. Students should be trusted to do reading on their own and keep up with material.

    This is not elementary school. We’re not dealing with weekly spelling tests here. College students (should) have reached a level of maturity by now that allows them to continue to read Augustine or Plato regardless of whether or not class is in session. Professors shouldn’t have to take us by the hand.

    At the end of the day, these self-righteous valedictorians have to get over themselves and enjoy this experience. THE WORLD WILL GO ON WITHOUT JAMES V. SCHALL’S LECTURES THIS WEEK.

  5. You all do realize that you’re being mad fun of now in the dc media? Wonkette put up a post and the local NBC station had something too. Yes it sucks not to have a day off. Instead, you got 4 days off this week. Which I’m sure you have been spending studying in Lau constantly. As someone said above, there is no way all 1,400 members of that facebook group have travel plans that can’t be rearranged. Valentine’s day is on weeknights all the time, you’ll survive. (Shout-out to naimun staffers who I know could use a day to sleep after this weekend. But yall have had all week to get caught up on your work, so you also will survive)

  6. I think what’s particularly hilarious about this entire situation is that the university seems to think that by missing a couple lectures of each class, our academic careers and possibly future lives will be irrevocably altered. It’s pretty haughty, really. I’m sure no one will suffer too much from missing CPS lecture or Spanish class. Sure, Georgetown may “hold itself to high academic standards” blah blah blah, but, really Mr. O’Donnell, the world will go on.

  7. 10 bucks says they’re also going to take away a reading day. Because President’s Day only makes up for a Monday. There are tuesday/thursday classes THAT MUST BE HAD OR ELSE—- 2012.

  8. What about work on Monday? My bosses (I work on campus) have no idea what Monday’s liberal leave means for administrative offices or special libraries. While Lauinger, that beacon of our commitment to learning and inquiry, may be open 24/7, certain other libraries have different schedules. I think it’s time for another wordy email about exactly what a liberal leave policy means for students, faculty, AND STAFF.

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