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Class­rooms and offices operated as usual on Labor Day this year. / Wiki­media Commons

Once again, Hillsdale College stu­dents labored away on Labor Day as the school con­tinued its long­standing tra­dition of neglecting the holiday.

Throughout its history, the school has waffled about closing on Labor Day. After staying open on the holiday for years, the college decided to cancel classes and close admin­is­tration offices in 2000. In 2002, classes resumed while the admin­is­tration offices closed. In 2008, the whole college rec­og­nized the holiday, but for the past nine years, both classes and offices have con­tinued to operate on Labor Day.  

The decision to con­tinue oper­a­tions makes it easy for Hillsdale stu­dents to forget that Labor Day isn’t just another Monday.

“If my pro­fessor hadn’t said any­thing, I would have com­pletely for­gotten about Labor Day,” senior Danny Drummond said.

Those who remember they’re missing a holiday some­times entertain the the­ories swirling around campus.

Stu­dents said there’s a rumor that the school feared retention problems: If freshmen were allowed to go home for a long weekend this early in the semester, they might never come back.

Others blame refusal to accept federal funding or a lack of unionized workers.

For the admin­is­tration, the reason is simple.

“Hillsdale does not take Labor Day off for the simple reason that, by this point in the summer, everyone’s jet-skis are broken anyway, and so there would be no point,” Provost David Whalen said in an email, joking.

College Pres­ident Larry Arnn agreed.

The decision not to observe the holiday with a break, according to an email from Arnn, “stems from the sacred prin­ciple, if you just had three months off, [it is] not time for vacation.”

Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé also noted that taking the day off would be an untimely vacation.

“Stu­dents had a long weekend upon arrival and nothing pro­ductive to do,” he said. “Better for them to stay in the groove of classes.”

It’s unclear whether Hillsdale will ever take Labor Day off, but for Arnn, that’s pro­jecting too far.

“Ever is a long time,” Arnn said. “Not so long as the eye can see.”