Bringing It #46: Take Action Ahead of November 3
The election season is upon us. At a time when political campaigning, voting, and the fall semester have been disrupted, it’s more urgent than ever that educators support our students’ capacity for electoral engagement in every way we can. Many important efforts are underway. Here are a few.
Sign the Faculty Pledge for Student Voting Rights!
The Faculty Network for Student Voting Rights pledges to become visible allies to students organizing to protect their right to vote under the current and difficult circumstances. Its Steering Committee is seeking to recruit signers of its Faculty Pledge for Student Voting Rights. They welcome people at all levels of the academy, and from different disciplines and types of institutions.
Election Imperatives 2020: A Time of Physical Distancing and Social Action
The Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University has released Election Imperatives 2020: A Time of Physical Distancing and Social Action. The report offers ideas for the current context, an equity checklist for everyone in higher education, and recommendations for senior leaders, professors and academic affairs, and student-centered offices and teams (e.g., voting coalitions and student affairs). EI 2020 is meant to be read and used alongside Election Imperatives 2.0.
Promoting Student Poll Workers for the Upcoming Election
Many polling stations are facing an anticipated shortage of poll workers for the federal election in November. The Council of Independent Colleges believes that college students can help meet this need and derive many educational benefits in the process, engaging them in civic activities and deepening their understanding of how elections actually work. Interested students should be registered to vote by late September and contact election officials about poll worker service by early October. Faculty and staff members may wish to consult additional resources when working with students to assure that their service as poll workers offers a meaningful educational experience.
Campus Spotlight: Elon Votes
Many colleges and universities are doing impressive work encouraging student electoral engagement, from voter registration and information drives to (distanced) political discussion of issues. We’ve been impressed by our home campus’ Elon Votes initiative. Check it out and keep us informed about important work on other campuses.
What We’re Reading
A Crucible Moment: Civic Learning and Democracy’s Future
As we approach this year’s election, poised to be a watershed moment for American democracy, we’re looking back on A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future (2012), a call to action and report from The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. A Crucible Moment calls on educators and public leaders to advance a 21st century vision of college learning for all students—a vision with civic learning and democratic engagement an expected part of every student’s college education. Eight years later, its diagnosis of the nation’s anemic civic health and its recommendations for higher ed’s response are more urgent than ever.
It’s Time to Help Students Vote in a Pandemic
The 2020 Presidential Election will be unlike any other, taking place during a global pandemic, national social unrest over systemic racism, and an upheaval of campus operations throughout the country. Despite the unprecedented circumstances—or rather because of them—college students still need to vote. In his opinion article for Inside Higher Ed, Gary Orfield discusses the challenges many students face when voting, pandemic or not, and urges higher education leaders to take clear actions to foster full student voting access and empower students to exercise their democratic rights.
A healthy democracy and transformative education depend on each other. It’s on us this fall to sustain both.
With thanks for all you do,
David, Todd, Kate and Lily