Many Americans used their day off Monday to serve others in celebration and recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Meanwhile, the students at John Brown University sat in class.
MLK day is nationally recognized as a day to serve your neighbors and communities. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”
According to mlkday.gov, the holiday is part United We Serve, the President’s national call for a service initiative.
“It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems,” the site states.
Furthermore, it recognizes one of our country’s greatest leaders. King was not only a leader of the civil rights movement but a proponent of the Gospel. His words literally moved mountains and taught us as Christians what it truly means to love our neighbors.
Yet, the University fails to recognize and revere this day by closing its doors.
The Threefold Advocate researched the academic calendars of members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities in Arkansas and its surrounding states. Of the 29 colleges and universities with available calendars, John Brown University was one of nine that continued classes.
We at the Threefold Advocate appreciate the recognition the University already gives MLK Day through the special chapel service.
But the chapel only lengthens the students’ day, leaving less time for service.
We are not begging for another day free of classes, but we are asking the University to consider other alternatives. Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss. uses the time off of classes for a campus-wide service day. Other universities cancel daytime classes but keep the night classes that only meet once a week so schedules are kept in tact.
MLK Day clearly falls in line with the “Head, Heart and Hand” mission of the University and to not appropriately recognize it sends a message to others about what is important and is not important to us.