Baruch College should close to observe Veterans Day

Amanda Salazar

As a whole, CUNY is making good efforts to honor student veterans throughout the school year, especially on Veterans Day. Baruch College, which is home to a Veterans Affairs program that aims to support and aid veterans that attend the school, has made some of these attempts too.

On Nov. 11, Baruch hosted its annual “Veterans Appreciation Luncheon,” the day of Veterans Day. The event was hosted by Baruch President Mitchel Wallerstein. The event isn’t just for students who have served — staff and faculty veterans were celebrated as well.

Other CUNY schools have had events in recent weeks and are going to continue to hold events in the coming weeks to honor veterans who have fought for the U.S. Armed Forces.

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It even affects students and staff who are not veterans themselves.

However, the university has missed one key thing — giving students off for Veterans Day.

Yes, it is great that the majority of CUNY campuses have events to express gratitude to these students and staff that have fought for their country.

Yes, it is great that CUNY and SUNY, under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are waiving all application fees for veterans and their spouses that are looking to get a public education in New York City and State.

But one of the simplest ideas could have done a great job to honor veterans as well, which is giving students Veterans
Day off so veteran students and staff can spend time with their families or going to events for them.

Without closing the university and all its campuses for that one day, it forces students and staff who have served in the Armed Forces to come in or face absentee penalties for their classes or lose pay, respectively.

Someone who, if they didn’t have to worry about coming into school that day, would be spending the time with their family, attending the Veterans Day Parade or celebrating with their local community now has to choose between that or missing a day of school or work.

It even affects students and staff who are not veterans themselves. They may also have veteran family members.

They can’t be with their relatives who served and are celebrating because they have to be at Baruch, attending a New Media Arts elective class.

Not to mention, that tons of community organizations hold events and ceremonies on Veterans Day, so CUNY-affiliated people that want to volunteer at or attend these events, or who are themselves being honored at them, can’t make it to them.

The fact that CUNY doesn’t give the day off is unfair for the students and staff who find the holiday meaningful to them, whether due to their own service or that of someone they know. 

CUNY has been doing well with creating a more veteran-welcome environment in its schools, but without closing the university on Veterans Day, they haven’t done quite enough.