Should Colleges Give Students Election Day Off?

In such a history-making election, there are many questions that rise to the voters’ minds. One question on students’ minds, however, doesn’t have to do with health care premiums or a woman’s right to choose. Instead, students’ are asking, should I skip classes in order to vote?
Marist doesn’t give students the day off, although the registrar does encourage students to register to vote in the state of New York, offering papers and pamphlets in Donnelly. Some students are taking matters into their own hands.
“I’m skipping one class because I’m going home to vote,” Junior Elizabeth Jacoby said. “But voting seems like a bigger deal than missing class.”
Other students are following her lead. Jacoby said many of her housemates are also missing class to vote, mostly citing the first-time experience as their motivator.
Obama’s camp even encourages students to skip classes and Americans to skip work, running ads that say “talk to your boss, talk to your professor, ask for Election Day off – make history.”
But according to some in the administration, it isn’t necessary for that talk to occur. Elena Filchagina, the Public Services Coordinator for the James A. Cannavino Library, offered her take.
“I don’t think it’s necessary for students to have the day off, as chances are, it’s probably not going to change whether or not they vote,” Filchagina said. “If it’s important to you, you’re going to make time to vote anyway.”
Filchagina went on to add that most people don’t have the day off from work, so students shouldn’t be an exception. Although, she did add that voting should be made more accessible for our tech-savvy generation, suggesting voting on the internet as an option.
Some professors at other colleges have opted to cancel class instead, making the option easier for students.
“My professor just canceled class so we could vote,” Rebecca Rutledge, a junior at the University of New Hampshire said. “He said it only came around every 4 years, and this one was too important not to vote.”
College students in Hawaii also do not have to worry about attendance policies and unexcused absences, as Election Day is a state holiday. So far, only one other college has canceled all Election Day classes – Liberty University in Virginia, the university founded by Reverend Jerry Falwell.

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