Purdue Senate considers canceling class on federal election day

PSG is advocating to make federal election day a designated non-instructional day, starting with the 2024 November election.

Posted: May 3, 2021 9:53 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The Purdue University Senate continued its April meeting Monday afternoon, and they heard several resolutions put together by the Purdue Student Government.

PSG is advocating to make federal election day a designated non-instructional day, starting with the 2024 November election.

Purdue did something similar this past election by scheduling a reading day for election day. However, that reading day was a one time COVID calendar change for this school year.

Several senators had some concerns about making this a recurring day off. Professors Corless, Koltik and Bartlett didn't think giving students a day off would make a difference in voter turn out. Several said that there are plenty of options for early voting, or that throwing in another day off would be disruptive to the teaching schedule.

The Purdue Senate will vote on the election day resolution at its first meeting in the fall.

This resolution would go along with Purdue's push to improve civics literacy and engagement among students. The Purdue Board of Trustees is set to vote in June to make taking a civics literacy course a graduation requirement starting with the 2021 incoming class. 

The Purdue Senate voted against such a resolution in April 2020. The senate is charged with making changes to academic requirements. Several senators felt it unwise and against the very nature of democracy for the Board of Trustees to vote to approve this change without the support of the senate. 

A new resolution was put forth that would more meet with the trustees' goals, but the vote to suspend the rules and vote on that resolution at Monday's meeting was less than 1% shy of the 2/3's majority needed and did not move forward early. It is unclear at this point of the Board of Trustees will hold off on their vote until the fall so that the senate might have a chance to get on board with their plans.

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