To the Editor:

This Monday was Columbus Day and Veterans Day is shortly around the corner, though you might not have noticed Columbus Day nor will you notice Veterans Day mostly because if tradition stays true, it will not receive the recognition it should from our University, particularly when compared to the emphasis our University places on other holidays such as Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. Each fall I can’t help but wonder how it is that our school justifies giving so much time off in order to recognize holidays that apply to a very specific population of the student body while blatantly ignoring other holidays which apply to a far greater number of students. For starters, we’re a public university that derives funding from the state, which truly leaves me puzzled as to why there is such a blatant disregard for federal holidays yet obvious recognition of religious holidays. Does this not completely violate any degree of separation of church and state? Please don’t misunderstand this as a gripe against Jewish holidays, I’m glad we celebrate the diversity of campus and allow the Jewish students to observe their religious beliefs, but I’m utterly dumbfounded as to how it continuously comes to be that the people in charge of our school calendar see fit to provide numerous days off for religious holidays that are recognized by only about one-third of our campus, while federal holidays that apply to every single non-international student such as Columbus Day, or more importantly, Veterans Day remain for the most part ignored by the University. I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to ask, or demand for that matter, that a state funded university begin to put forth the same effort in recognizing federal holidays as it does for religious holidays. I’m not even asking for time off, but perhaps a little more attention could be directed toward these federal holidays, particularly Veterans Day. It is my hope that by writing this letter perhaps our school will show the enthusiasm they do for religious customs and traditions for other more widely recognized customs and traditions, perhaps instead of our school mascot having a “Bear Mitzvah”, as was the case in 2011, he could instead show up at the annual flag raising ceremony next month for Veterans Day.

Neal Bonenberger

Class of 2015