Wouldn’t you love to have a day off this November? As Election Day draws closer, there has been talk of whether college students should be free from classes on Nov. 4.
Liberty University in Virginia has actually taken a proactive route by not only dismissing students from class on Nov. 4, but also distributing registration forms and arranging transportation to the polls in an all-out effort to keep Virginia red. Fortunately, Liberty University is unique in adopting such an agenda. Giving GW students Election Day off would be unnecessary from a voting perspective, but it would also cause academic scheduling conflicts.
National rankings consistently place our University among the most politically active in the country, with students being statistically more likely to join a political organization. As such, it is highly unlikely that having class on Election Day would preclude students from voting. Assuming that students need a day off as an incentive to go vote is almost insulting in its implications about the immaturity and lack of interest of students.
Since our location makes it unfeasible for most students to go home to vote, the majority of students have already made preparations for voting by ensuring that their absentee ballots will arrive in time. A large amount of students have either already voted at this juncture or will have by Nov. 4.
Those students that want to get involved politically are not waiting until they have Election Day off to start. College Democrats and College Republicans have been utilizing their weekends by traveling to swing states such as Ohio and Virginia, persuading and encouraging voter turnout from voters both new and old. Those who are active and invested enough in politics have already become involved, and having Election Day off would not make much of a difference.
Students calling for Nov. 4 off might find themselves reconsidering after hearing of the core reason behind our current schedule. According to Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman, the fall schedule is tight as it is. To lose another day of classes would be to lose a reading day prior to the exams. Still want that November day off?
If we were to have the no classes that day, it would be naive to assume that all students are as politically attentive as our reputation suggests and would all run to volunteer at the polls. There will surely be students who pass up the opportunity in favor of that new episode of Gossip Girl or to cruise Facebook for hours on end. Students might watch Comedy Central instead if given Election Day off, and that’s their prerogative.
The politically attentive don’t need to be deprived of a reading day to make their decision about how active to be on Election Day. GW administrators should be commended for not giving in to election hype and for sticking with the academic calendar. The amount of GW students that do or do not vote in this crucial election depends on many factors, but whether class is in session that day is not one of them.
The writer is a freshman majoring in political science.