AU will close operations on Election Day
Synchronous class meetings to be canceled, University employees to receive paid day off
Editor’s Note and correction: Kayla Kelly, who started a petition calling for AU to cancel classes on Election Day, is a staff columnist for The Eagle. Kelly was not involved in the reporting, writing or editing of this story. This story has been corrected since it was first published to clarify that AU will close for future Election Days during presidential years.
In an email to the AU community Monday, President Sylvia Burwell announced that the University will close on Nov. 3 for Election Day. All synchronous class meetings will be canceled, and University offices and telework will be closed as a paid day off.
The decision comes after students circulated a petition for classes to be canceled on Election Day. The petition received over 500 signatures by Monday.
“By implementing this, and in having this call to action, I wanted my peers to feel empowered and have the ability to determine like the next four years of their life,” said Kayla Kelly, who started the petition.
Kelly, a freshman, said she hopes that the University continues to listen to student voices in the future.
“AU students, faculty, and staff–changemakers to the core–put their knowledge and purpose to work to make our country and our world a better place,” Burwell wrote, in the email. “And true to that spirit, this fall our students fostered a broad and constructive dialogue about the value of supporting our community by making Election Day a university holiday. We appreciate their engagement and are pleased to arrive at this outcome.”
According to Burwell’s email, faculty will work with their students to either reschedule class meetings or assuage alternative learning opportunities to ensure that their courses remain on track.
She said that Election Day will be a University holiday going forward as well during presidential election years, similar to inauguration day.
Tamir Harper, a junior and the editor-in-chief of The Blackprint, said that he hopes students take advantage of this opportunity.
“While this is a big victory, now I am expecting students to make their voices heard. If people are in the DMV area, they need to figure out ways to volunteer on Election Day even if it’s phone banking to remind people to vote,” Harper said.
Burwell said that regardless of how people participate in the election, exercising the right to vote is essential.
“No matter your activity, exercising the right to vote is something we cherish, and we are proud to stand with our community,” Burwell said.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.