Satire: American University claims it was preparing Jewish students for the professional world by ignoring their most important holidays
‘From being bureaucratically confusing to ignoring minorities, American does our utmost to mirror the ‘real world’ as possible'
From the Newsstands: This story appeared in The Eagle's November 2022 print edition. You can find the digital version here.
The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.
After not canceling classes for any of the Jewish High Holy Days, American University administrators claim the decision was in students’ best interests. Despite having one of the largest Jewish populations of any private university, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanna and Sukkot all passed with little recognition from administration beyond a tasteful Canva graphic. This decision confused and angered many Jewish and non-Jewish students alike due to AU’s public commitments to diversity and inclusion. When pressed, AU administrators responded in the email below:
“Here at American University, we strive to prepare students for the competitive job market. From being bureaucratically confusing to ignoring minorities, AU does our utmost to mirror the ‘real world.’”
While most professors were understanding, with some even canceling class to support their students, others were not. Reports of breaking fast in Kogod to Sukkah building in Hurst show how affected students were. After her home synagogue’s Rosh Hashanah service crashed due to the lack of adequate wifi in Leonard Hall, Ella Cohen, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, weighed in.
“At first, I was upset about not being able to spend the holiest day of the year with my family, doing our sacred traditions. But then I realized nothing was more traditionally Jewish than being denied a basic right my Christian counterparts don’t have to think about,” Cohen said.
Some professors, however, defended their choice to follow the University’s schedule due to the importance of their class. AUx advisor Nelson Bale stood firm in his decision to hold class, making anyone who missed his section of AUx on Yom Kippur write the standard seven page makeup paper to keep up their attendance grade.
“Listen, I totally get why the spiritually-important start to the new year might be a reason to skip a nonessential, non-major related class students take. But AUx is non-negotiable. Students must learn how to set healthy work-life boundaries; if they have to compromise their faith to do so, so be it.”
There are some Jewish student defenders of AU, though. One student, who chose to remain anonymous, reached out to the Seagle.
“Look, I’m not saying AU’s perfect by any stretch. But, I did have the easiest fast I’ve ever had due to the quality of food on campus. Even one day without having to worry about getting food poisoning at TDR was a relief.”
India Siecke is a freshman in the School of Public Affairs and is a satire columnist at The Eagle.