Civic duty homework

Voting is a class requirement this year in one professor's class at Drew University in New Jersey. Merrill Skaggs, a literature professor, is counting voting as part of her students' participation grades.

Skaggs has good intentions, but they may not be applied correctly. College students should be encouraged to exercise their right to vote but a literature class may not be the most appropriate venue.

Voting counts as part of students' participation grades. We think that it would be better for Skaggs, and other professors, to offer extra credit to those who vote, but not penalize those who choose not to.

It's important to note that the upcoming election is not discussed in any of Skaggs' classes. This protects her from being accused as trying to get votes for a certain candidate.

The argument that this assignment is totalitarian is ridiculous. Telling people to vote cannot be called completely undemocratic, though we must also acknowledge that freedom includes the freedom to choose not to vote. The assignment should not be a full requirement, though anything that gets young people to the polls is a good thing.

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