By Elizabeth Scalzo
Why are universities not treating Election Day like an academic holiday?
Johnathan Miller, The Equinox’s political correspondent, said during The Equinox Town Hall meeting on Oct.14 that one of his professors has offered to cancel class — if everyone goes to vote.
Why is institutional support of Election Day being left to the professors of our university? With a larger Gen Z voter turnout anticipated this year, FDU must do more to encourage student voting and participation in Election Day.
Talk to your professors and have them help the university realize the critical importance of Election Day. Fight for our ability to fulfill our civic duty and support our democracy.
In September, Tamir Harper, a junior at American University, demanded his university make a stand: “I’m calling on @AmericanU to cancel classes on Election Day and allow students to vote in person and work the polls,” he tweeted.
“This election is everything,” Harper said in an NBC interview. “I’m a 2000s baby. I’ve lived through everything — 9/11, wars and now a historic presidency and also a pandemic.”
On Monday, American University canceled classes on Election Day, joining Brown University, the University of Utah and Colorado College, among others, that are giving students the time to fully participate in the process.
Students at UNC-Chapel Hill and The University of Pennsylvania have made this demand. Now it’s our turn.
The Equinox asked Angelo Carfagna, the associate vice president for university communications, about FDU’s plans to encourage students on Election Day.
“With mail-in ballots the primary form of voting this year, we do not expect that many students will need special accommodations,” he said via email.
While COVID-19 is making mail-in voting an important option, there are students who will vote in-person to assure their ballot is counted or who want to monitor live election updates or work at a polling place or just help get out the vote.
“If a student has a particular situation that is causing hardship and needs to miss class to participate in the voting process, we encourage them to discuss that situation with their faculty members,” Carfagna said.
The Chegg State of the Student report sees 80% of college students planning to vote this year, compared to 2012 and 2016 when a shade less than 50% of college-student voters turned up to the polls, according to a Tufts University report.
It’s important to get to the polls and VOTE! Make sure your family, friends and neighbors vote.
Share your demand for this with the hashtag #FDUVote. It’s never been more important!
Art by Elizabeth Scalzo