published Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Students hold festive protest of canceled vacation





Northampton Community College students Thoai Luong and Sebastian Paff try out the swimming pool in the lounge of the Bethlehem, Pa. school in this Tuesday, March 18, 2014, photo.
Northampton Community College students Thoai Luong and Sebastian Paff try out the swimming pool in the lounge of the Bethlehem, Pa. school in this Tuesday, March 18, 2014, photo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — When Northampton Community College canceled spring break to make up for excessive snow days, students decided to protest — by wearing flip-flops, bathing suits and tank tops to class. Not to mention plastic leis.

The imaginary beach day on Tuesday drew sympathy, not scorn, from winter-weary administrators at the eastern Pennsylvania school. They set up a Tiki bar with an inflatable palm tree in the campus food court to serve nonalcoholic drinks with paper umbrellas.

Protest organizers Thoai Luong and John Cronce, both 20 and from Easton, were a bit disappointed in the turnout, which totaled around 15 people, mostly male. But they said those who joined in were having a blast.

"Most of the campus is looking at us like we're nuts," Cronce told the Express-Times of Easton. "It would be nice if there were more girls."

The food court also featured a plastic kiddie pool and a pingpong table, where college President Mark Erickson played against the students. Erickson wore sandals, an orange polo shirt, madras shorts and a lei, although he stashed a suit in his office for some afternoon functions.

But all the festivities couldn't change the still-chilly weather in Bethlehem — or the fact that a weeklong vacation was nixed.

Holding a beverage from the Tiki bar, student Efrain Lopez told WFMZ-TV: "The drink's nice, but I'd rather be on spring break."

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