Classes canceled for Election Day November 2
This year will be the first time Lehigh has canceled classes on Election Day after years of petitions and requests from students.
The Faculty Senate voted to cancel classes on Election Day in September 2020 in response to a proposal put forward by the president of Hawk the Vote, a student-run organization that has advocated for the cancellation of course on polling day. The Lehigh administration then decided to give the day off for Election Day the following year.
Now called Civic Engagement Day, this year’s classless Election Day on November 2 will feature civic-related discussions and presentations led by members of the Lehigh community to encourage students to s get involved and vote.
To accommodate this schedule change, one day was removed from the stimulation break in October.
Brian Fife, chair of the political science department, said the title Civic Engagement Day suggests to him that the Lehigh community as a whole needs to do more when it comes to voting and political participation.
“It’s important that students use the day to send a strong message to the University community and the wider community that we are going to do something with this day and make it hugely meaningful,” Fife said.
Although Lehigh has hosted Election Day events in the past, it has been difficult for students to attend. because of the lessons.
Some of this year’s events will include community discussions on policy issues and presentations from various faculty members. These events will continue throughout Civic Engagement Day until 5 p.m.
Declan Coster, 23, a Student Senate representative for the calendar committee, has organized Election Day events in the past and worked to change Lehigh’s academic calendar to accommodate the day off.
Coster emphasized the importance of local elections and taking advantage of the events Lehigh is hosting this year. Coster said he encourages students to get up early, go to the polls, and then attend these events.
He said these events will help students not only understand what’s on the ballot, but some of the important social and political topics that are on the minds of students and people across the country.
“Our Lehigh community can only grow together, and that starts with having tough conversations and listening to each other,” Coster said. “That’s one of the main things we try to aim for with these educational events.”
Lehigh’s Student Political Action Coalition was instrumental in getting the day off. Lehigh SPAC President Brian Lucas said SPAC’s goal is to get students to vote without pushing a specific agenda, simply emphasizing that it is a student’s civic duty.
Lucas said that when it comes to politics, many people think only national elections matter because they get the most media attention. However, he said it was important for students to understand how voting can also impact their local communities.
“Students should spend the day aligning themselves with the candidate they want elected and understanding the issues in the area,” Lucas said. “Get everyone you know who doesn’t do anything all day to join in and make it a big thing, go have brunch and then go vote together.”