Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A final word from Fuller

Dr. Mouw, I hope you read this one.

So we finally just got some information about how to deal with the fact that our finals week falls during Holy Week this quarter. I assumed that the seminary was just ignoring Good Friday and keeping offices open until 5 for the turning in of papers, as usual. But no, they are actually giving the day off to staff and faculty, but not to students!!!! What crap is this! We are all still required - adamantly so - to turn in everything by Good Friday, or earlier, which is essentially cutting off our quarter earlier than the time that contracted with us (which is 10 weeks plus finals week, no less - that's what we pay for, that's what we should get). In fact, many professors are making work due earlier. Well lovely, but that still denies us our full quarter of time for learning.

At first I was just kind of letting this slide, writing it off as Fuller being ignorant of Christianity in favor of egg hunts and whatever, but yesterday I talked with one of my mentors and she pointed out the discrepancy in closing the seminary offices but still requiring work be turned in (it's to be turned in via mail - yeah, I really want to pay $1 postage to turn in my assignments down the street!! - or a dropbox which will be locked at 5, but certainly not reopened until Monday). So either they believe that the staff and faculty have more prerogative than the students to be able to celebrate this most holy day, or they are just taking it as a holiday like any other, can't really remember why it's celebrated, but know that as Christians it's a day we're supposed to get off. Unless, of course, we're studying for the ministry.

Anyway, being me, I just couldn't keep myself from commenting, so I sent the following to the registrar. I don't want to make him look bad because I'm sure it wasn't his decision entirely, but I think if enough students throw a fit about this hopefully they won't do it again. I realize Easter was super early this year, but I don't care - we are training pastors, we should be training spiritual people who are aware of what this week means. I've always hated having to go to class during Holy Week anyway - one year I had class on Maundy Thursday evening, and so I made the teacher let me lead a little liturgy to remind everyone what that day was really about (not sitting in class is the answer).

I thought about copying my dear Dr. Mouw, but I didn't want to freak out the registrar by making it look like I was tattling. So I'm posting it here and I know lots of Fuller folks read this. Please comment if you like - I'd love to hear feedback, especially of course if you agree with me. :)

Here's my letter:

It seems that if staff and faculty are allowed to have Good Friday off to spend in church and meditating upon Christ's death, students should be extended the same privilege. It is truly a shame that the school has chosen to conflate finals with Holy Week. Those of us who truly enter into this week - which is an entire week and not just Friday - are forced to finish work a week early, thereby cutting off our quarter a week early and giving us less time than our classmates. It seems that Fuller should encourage a deeper spiritual walk during this most holy time of year, not discourage it by rewarding those who don't celebrate Holy Week.

This is my final quarter and it's really a disappointing way to go out. Just further confirmation that the seminary has very little regard for the traditions of the Christian calendar and Church.

Not that it matters, but my solution would have been to make work due on Easter Monday by 5. Certainly no professor will grade any earlier than that, and most students wouldn't be taking "extra" time because that's such a busy weekend already.

1 comment:

Hugo Schwyzer said...

Send it to him, for sure. He will take it very seriously, trust me.