Veteran’s Day is Nov. 11 this year, but classes will still be held on this holiday.
According to Dennis Kennedy, director of communications and marketing, the college is required to have 75 days of instruction, and the academic calendar is built with that condition in mind. In addition, since finals week was eliminated this past year, teachers now have to work their course material around the decreased days of instruction.
Chris Howell, an individual studies student and veteran previously deployed in Iraq, does not fault the college for holding classes on Veteran’s Day. “It doesn’t really bother me, honestly. I mean, I celebrate in my own little way, and most of it doesn’t involve needing a day off. Some people might have a problem with it, but I don’t.”
Army veteran Steve Nobles agrees with Howell. “A veteran, for one, is somebody who signs a paper to sacrifice their free time anyway. You’re sacrificing your time that you would have with your family to go fight the enemy, so for me to work, it was never a big deal.”
This semester, there are over 300 veterans attending Hudson Valley. The college provides many special services to those who have served in the military, including the armed forces study room located on the second floor of the Marvin Library.
Nobles approves of the college for providing this service. “As soon as I came in [the study room] and met these guys, I could relate to them. Right off the bat, it’s like ‘Oh, you’re army? What did you do? Oh, me too.’ You got your crew – your battle buddies, as some of us call them,” he said.
Some students, however, feel that holding classes on Veteran’s Day is disrespectful to those who have served in the military. “If they wanted a day to switch, Veteran’s Day is definitely more important than Columbus Day,” environmental science student Austin Knapp said.
Dylan Altobelli, a student enrolled in the business administration program, said, “It’s a good day to remember all of the people who have served our country. A lot of people probably won’t realize that it’s Veteran’s Day because we don’t have it off.”
Bryan Drost, a Marine Corps veteran, was disappointed that students are not given Veteran’s Day off. “I volunteered for the Albany Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day parades, and I can’t even be at the parade when I’m on the committee that puts it together,” Drost said.
Hudson Valley is not the only school that does not give students Veteran’s Day off; the majority of other SUNY schools have the same policy. College faculty that served in the military is eligible to take the day off with pay under Section 63 of the Public Officers Law, but student veterans are subject to the policies of their individual teachers.
There are veterans on both sides of the spectrum: “I know it goes both ways,” Howell said, “but we don’t want people to think we feel entitled to a day off specifically because of what we chose to do.”