Professors have mixed opinions of Green Key PR
By Erin Landau, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, May 18, 2012
Professors across campus have mixed views about the significance of Green Key weekend, for which many students miss Thursday and Friday classes in favor of drinking. While they encouraged students to take advantage of the clear weather, many interviewed by The Dartmouth emphasized that they would not excuse students for missing class. Professors also expressed their expectations that students bear responsibility for their chosen activities over the weekend.
Film and media studies professor James Brown said that even after spending more than 20 years at the College, he still knows relatively little about Green Key weekend. This sentiment is echoed throughout the faculty, as there are no events geared toward professors and the weekend is not on the academic calendar.
“It’s always seemed like a nice idea for everyone to get out and celebrate and appreciate spring after the long cold winter months and miserable mud season,” Brown said in an email to The Dartmouth. “I don’t have Friday classes so it’s never been an issue for me in terms of canceling.”
Professors expressed a general ambivalence toward the weekend but said that they do not make exceptions for students who miss class or wish to turn in assignments late.
“[Green Key] is not on the academic calendar, which I interpret to mean I should not routinely cancel class,” psychology professor Catherine Cramer said. “If students don’t want to come to class, that’s a choice they can make, just like any other day’s class. They are still responsible for covered material that they missed.”
Other professors, however, recognize that most students do not attend classes on the Friday of Green Key weekend.
“I used to teach on Friday more out of ignorance than anything else,” history professor Edward Miller said. “It took a while but I’ve come around.”
Economics professor Elisabeth Curtis said that she cancels class on Friday due to the availability of x-hours.
Cramer said that her grading policies, similar to those of many other professors, allow for one assignment to be dropped without receiving a grade deduction. Students can choose to use the policy for Green Key.
“I believe that Green Key is Dartmouth’s version of the spring festival that is a mainstay of most campuses, focused, in our case, around the Greek system that seems to form the core of this campus’s undergraduate social life,” Cramer said.
Many professors said that they spend their long weekend enjoying the outdoors and catching up on work, but they do not participate in any Green Key activities.
“During my first and second spring terms at Dartmouth, I have used the time during Green Key weekend to do lots of grading of assignments and prepare for upcoming classes,” environmental studies professor Anne Kapuscinski said.
Cramer said she expects students to bear responsibility for their choice of activities over the weekend.
“My broader opinion of student life issues is that, like all adults, students have the right to make choices about how they spend their time,” Cramer said.
Spanish professor Paloma Asensio said she thinks that Green Key is a student-focused event that should not affect their academic performance.
“For the most part, students have been pretty responsible with keeping up with their class work,” Asensio said in an email to The Dartmouth.
While newer professors expressed confusion about the traditions of Green Key and drinking at the College, French and Italian professor John Rassias said that when he first arrived at Dartmouth, the weekend was much more “raucous.”
Rassias, who started teaching at Dartmouth in 1965, recalled reading a letter in a local paper in which a mother protested that her young child had wandered to the golf course during Green Key and found couples there with mattresses.
Asensio echoed other professors’ sentiments of uncertainty about the purpose of Green Key.
“I think Green Key used to be some sort of parade, but now it is more a reason to party,” Asensio said.