Purdue Senate votes against election day as civic day of service

After a long discussion, the Purdue University Senate voted against making federal election days a university civic day of service, relieving students from class so they could vote.

Posted: Sep 13, 2021 11:32 PM

WEST LAFAYETE, Ind. (WLFI) - The Purdue University Senate on Sept. 13 voted against making federal election days a civic day of service, which would give students the day off from classes to vote. The 26-53 decision came after lengthy discussion from both sides of the debate. 

While some believed the University should use the day to make voting more accessible, others had concerns over the feasibility of such a measure. Some faculty members argued the measure would be redundant due to early voting ability, others felt losing a day of instruction would be too high a cost.

However, some Purdue students wish the senate had voted the other way. Freshman Samantha Szanti explains.

"I fell like it would allow more students to understand the importance of election day, it would allow them to go out and vote on election day obviously, and I think it would put a more impact for Purdue students in our community, and just the entirety of Indiana would be able to hear those opinions a lot better," Szanti said.

Freshman Mariam Ghoneiama agrees, and says the workload and responsibilities of being a college student could hold students back from voting early.

"I'm just a freshman and I'm already feeling that so upper class men probably have an even bigger workload so even though they do have a month, I believe that having a set day just to be able to go and vote would really make a big impact," Ghoneiama said.

Some in the University Senate briefly discussed excused absences as a solution, but it was never voted on or amended.

Freshman John Burrell thinks the University missed a chance to be a trendsetter. 

"I wish the precedent would be set that students need time, but if they've made their decision they've made their decision. I don't know if there's going to be a lot of changing their mind at this point," Burrell said.

The University Senate also voted to condemn and object to the Board of Trustees vote on June 11 to require a civics literacy graduation requirement. The item, which contianed 8 total points (number 9 was amended out), was passed by a 66-10 margin.

Both items 20-57 (federal election day as a civic day of service) and 20-60 (regarding civic literacy as a graduation requirement) can be viewed in more detail.

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