Opinion: Say ‘no’ to Election Day classes

Opinion: Say no to Election Day classes

Cory Spiers

In the wake of the recent voting changes in Watauga County that moved on-campus voting to Legends, the Student Government Association here at Appalachian State University is working to cancel midday classes on Election Day in order to encourage students to vote.

This seems to be a wise plan for the university and one that would aid in student voting turnout.

Sarah Dickson, director of Government and Student Affairs, told The Appalachian that SGA does not want students who choose to make their way to the polls to lose credit or be otherwise penalized for missing class.

Today, most students cherish this right to vote and do their best to make it to the polls as soon as they turn 18.

And despite a full schedule of classes, students should still be able to do that.

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement reported that 56.5 percent of people under 30 in North Carolina voted in 2012. This was an increase from previous years and suggests that more students in the state are looking to make it a point to vote in presidential, state and local elections.

Canceling classes seems like an obvious way to encourage additional student turnout at the polls.

Cindy Wallace, vice chancellor of Student Development, told The Appalachian that despite the importance of civic duty to education, the university finds it difficult to “abandon the academic mission.” She believes the decision to cancel classes on Election Day will be left to individual faculty members.

Why not take the burden of the decision out of faculty member’s hands and simply give everyone the day off?

Unfortunately, this means that many students may forgo the opportunity to vote in order to receive credit for class attendance. Since most are taught the importance of voting from a young age, having to choose between classes and voting is a disappointment.

It is important that students understand the significance of casting their ballots. It would be hypocritical for faculty to emphasize civic duty without carving out a portion of Election Day to allow students to make it to the polls.

Students devote most of their time to the academic mission throughout the year, so give us Election Day off.

Opinion: ERICA BADENCHINI, Opinion writer