Recently, Stony Brook University decided to change the academic calendar, eliminating certain days of observance. This change was made behind closed doors, with no substantial input from any of the Interfaith Center chaplains on campus, faculty senate, or the student body. In doing so, the SBU administration has put a large portion of its students in the position of choosing between personal obligations and their studies - a position that is insensitive to students and faculty on campus.
The calendar for Stony Brook University has always been one of compromise and cultural acceptance for its diverse student population. These changes were made in the name of cultural equality. In reality, the changes exacerbate the issue - instead of moving towards the acceptance of the full student body in all of its religious and cultural diversity, students of even the most secular backgrounds must now choose between strong cultural ties and their academic studies. This fact was either overlooked or ignored by the Stony Brook University Administration to the detriment of its student body and their families. In reality, the new academic calendar moves in the wrong direction – eliminating the recognition of cultural diversity that was previously included in the school’s calendar. Instead, we should be moving toward a greater recognition of all faiths and cultures.
We, the students of Stony Brook University, want the calendar changed back to its previous form. At that point, we feel that the Calendar Committee should be reconstituted to revise the academic calendar in such a way that recognizes the need for compromise with regard to academic excellence, cultural, and religious understanding.
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