Pierce College promises to “increase opportunities for student access, readiness, retention, and success” as stated in their mission statement goals. But Pierce will fail to fulfill this promise unless it takes action to suspend synchronous classes for students on November 3.
To minimize stress for students, Pierce should cancel classes on Election Day to allow students ample time to vote in person.
Amid confusion about mail-in ballots and absentee ballots, people have chosen to vote in person to ensure their vote gets counted. This has resulted in longer lines at voting centers. In many states, people are waiting up to two hours to cast their ballot.
Students who have classes on Election Day may feel discouraged to vote if they are unable to find time to go to a polling center and further discouraged by long wait times.
By suspending online classes on Election Day, Pierce will allow students to engage in their civic duty and take part in this national election.
A recent report by Tufts University for Research and Civic Learning found that already 5 million eligible young voters have voted and this number is expected to increase as Election Day nears. This number is a significant increase from the 2016 Election when only 39% of eligible young people voted.
As Election Day is on the horizon, Pierce should take part in increasing the voting engagement for young voters by suspending class on that day.
Students who are working on Election Day may also find it difficult to make time to get to a polling center.
According to Pierce College’s scorecard, 68% are part-time students. The pandemic has placed economic burden on students, causing many students to become essential workers during this health crisis.
With more students balancing work along with classes, Pierce can alleviate this burden for working class students who may have inflexible hours.
American University has already taken steps to address this issue and will cancel all their synchronous classes on Election Day to allow students to take part in the democratic process. The University has a tradition to close every four years for Inauguration day but a new tradition was implemented to close the university every Election Day.
Pierce needs to take the initiative to make civic engagement accessible for all students by canceling classes on Election Day.