In the choice of academic holidays, a University inevitably makes selections that reflect its values as an institution and the composition of its student body (for example we get the two major fall Jewish holidays off at my school). Tight academic calendars usually preclude getting all the holidays off, indeed getting all the national holidays off is unheard of. What annoys me year after year is the disrespect shown to Veteran's Day and President's Day, and the elevation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to sacrosanct status. I did a quick Google search and discovered that Harvard is the only school among the eight Ivy League institutions to cancel classes for Veteran's day. Seven of the eight (not Cornell) have no classes on MLK day. Don't even ask about President's Day.
It does no disrespect to the legacy of King to remark that his importance pales in comparison to that of our presidents, or even to that of Washington or Lincoln, who seem to have been stripped of their individual holidays. It does no disrespect to say the combined sacrifice of millions of veterans is of greater significance that the remarkable sacrifice of one man. It's time classes be cancelled on Veteran's Day and, if necessary, scheduled on MLK Day.