In an email to all faculty members earlier this week, deans cautioned professors not to accommodate students' celebrations during Ivies Weekend.
While the email acknowledged the "longstanding student tradition at Bowdoin," and that "students should and will have fun," it asked faculty, "please don't cancel classes or defer exams, papers or projects to accommodate their revelry."
"We ask for your help in making sure this annual weekend celebration doesn't turn into another full week of spring break," read the email, signed by Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd and Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster.
This year marks the 147th anniversary of Ivies, which also comes 10 days before the end of classes and two weeks before final exams.
Professors seem to support the deans' stance.
"I agree with them," said Professor of Russian Jane Knox-Voina. "It's such a busy time of the year."
Professor of German Steven Cerf has been teaching at Bowdoin for 41 years and said he has never made adjustments for Ivies Weekend.
"I am all for Ivies," Cerf said. "I'm not going to go extra light or heavy, I'm just going to follow the syllabi I gave out in the beginning of the year—business as usual."
Some students said they dislike what they called the imposing tone of the email. "It should be entirely within professors' discretion," first year Emma Wheeler said. "Not an order."
"I feel like professors are sensible and understand how big of a deal Ivies Weekend is to students," Minnie Kim '14 said. "They've probably accommodated Ivies in their schedule."
Ivy Day began at Bowdoin on October 26, 1865, when the junior class planted ivy near the Chapel.
"On that Thursday, 147 years ago, a poem, an ode and an oration were presented to the junior class," according to a 2006 Orient article.
Ivy Day was then forgotten until eight years later, when the Class of 1875 planted ivy. The day has been celebrated ever since.
According to Louis C. Hatch's book "The History of Bowdoin College," students of the junior Class of 1875 were awarded various prizes known as the "Junior Honors" on that day.
A wooden spoon was given to the most popular man in the class; a mirror for the most handsome man; a jackknife for the ugliest; and a moustache cup—a drinking glass made to keep moustaches dry—for the man with the lightest beard.
From that day on, nothing has ever stood in the way of partying during Ivies Weekend. Not even the crises of the 20th century put an end to the tradition.
During the Great Depression, parties exploded at all 12 fraternities until the break of dawn, and alcohol flowed freely even throughout Prohibition.
During World War II, Ivy Day continued, even when most of Bowdoin's student population had gone to war.