The following message was shared with students, faculty and staff by email on Monday, Oct. 26.
Dear Members of the Campus Community:
I write to encourage all members of our campus community to vote in this year’s election. Some of you may have already voted early in-person or by absentee ballot, or you plan to do so this week. But for those who intend to exercise their right on Nov. 3., Election Day affords you the sacred opportunity to participate fully in your democracy and express your choice of candidates from across a number of federal, state and local races. Some voters may be asked to consider local ballot propositions as well.
As a public university, our mission and educational responsibilities include preparing citizens who are informed and engaged in civic life and encouraging voting is a crucial part of that work. Following a dynamic and often contentious campaign season, it is clear that some students, faculty and staff, may be exhausted by a national social and political climate that has some Americans polarized, angry and confused. Your engagement in the democratic process can be a remedy to that fatigue. As Election Day approaches, please take the time to vote and ask your students, colleagues, friends and family to do the same.
We recognize that attending classes, teaching and many other priorities impact our community daily and that it will take some time out of your day to vote. Nov. 3 classes cannot be cancelled, as they are part of the College’s overall course credit requirements that meet state guidelines for instruction. However, we ask faculty to accommodate students who wish to engage in election-related activities on Election Day. Faculty are encouraged to avoid tests on that day and to make reasonable course adjustments to help ensure that there is no penalty to any students who may miss class to participate in the election process. Similar to any planned absence, students should communicate with faculty members in advance if they do not plan to be in class on Nov. 3. Additionally, employees are permitted up to two hours of time off to vote if they do not have “sufficient time to vote” and should provide advanced notice to supervisors for staffing purposes.
It is important to recognize that election results for some of next week’s races may not be clear and determined on Election Day because the pandemic has increased the number of voters using absentee ballots and it will take time to count them. Whatever the outcome may be, some members of our community will see their candidate lose. I ask all of you to take particular care with each other in the days and weeks that follow and to model the empathy and civility at the heart of our core values and culture.
At this link, please find an excerpt of voting information that may be of interest. These and other resources were shared with all students separately by the Center for Student Engagement.
Again, please take the time to vote in this year’s election by whatever method you choose. Our democracy and democratic institutions, including SUNY New Paltz, depend upon the support, participation and engagement of its citizens.
Take care and be well.
Donald P. Christian, President