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January 28, 2015
Some students are questioning why the university did not have a compressed schedule on Martin Luther King Day, but officials say campus celebrations were a success without it.
Officials had originally planned a compressed schedule to provide time for teach-ins and other activities, but officials nixed the plan and notified students about the change on Friday.
“Not having a compressed schedule feels kind of wrong,” said freshman chemistry major Victoria Bednar. “It is a national holiday, and businesses such as the post office are closed and they should respect that.”
Matthew Hinton, Coordinator of Writing in the Student Success Center and member of the planning committee, said many events were spread over time so they could be held within a regular class schedule.
“The intent of having a compressed schedule was for teachers and faculty to be able to do teach-ins at this time. We did notice, however, that teachers were doing lessons for the celebration all week, so this allowed breathing room for other activities,” said Hinton.
Hinton said no planned activities were impacted by the full class schedule. Events included faculty teach-ins, a United Nations anti-racism pledge, a multimedia performance, a film showing, an ecumenical prayer service, a soul food lunch and Babel Poetry.
The UN pledge against racism was among the most popular events among students, faculty and staff.
“We acquired well over 200 signatures to make the pledge,” said Hinton.
Each person who signed the pledge received a special pin that shows the face of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“We handed out many buttons to those who accepted the pledge after signing it,” said Hinton.
The committee’s goal was to help students, faculty and staff appreciate the individuality of every person on campus, in the community and throughout the world.
“Each activity touches a key part of our life here at Misericordia,” said Hinton. “Some are entertaining yet thoughtful, such as the movie ‘Dear White People.’” The film, which was included the day’s celebrations, is a satirical comedy that focuses on the lives of four black students at an Ivy League college.
“I felt that the movie showed a different perspective of racism in American Universities,” said junior communications major Christa Porasky.
The planning committee has already begun planning the 2016 celebration.
“Whatever the results are from this year, you have to take from it and learn from it and develop for next year,” said Hinton. “It is only going to get more interesting and better every year. “I love it and looking forward to continuing it. I take it very seriously and I am very humble to have this responsibility,” said Hinton.
Hinton said the events – as well as the tasks that went into organizing them – were a learning opportunity.
“Being in the planning committee, you learn a lot of how to make activities like this happen on campus. Just being in the room with the other committee members, you learn a lot from just them.”
In addition to Hinton, committee members include Maria Cabrera, Sister Jean Mesaros, Darcy Brodmerkel, Dr. James Calderone.