Dear AU Community,
The right to vote is fundamental to our country as a whole and to us as individuals. On Election Day–Tuesday, November 3, 2020–the university will be closed to support our community’s participation in our democracy. All synchronous class meetings will be canceled. Faculty will work with their students to either reschedule class meetings or assign alternative learning opportunities to ensure that their courses remain on track. University offices (and telework) will be closed as a paid day off.
Civic engagement and pursuit of American democratic ideals is part of AU’s DNA. Beyond just our location in the nation’s capital, American University was founded on the principles of service and training future generations of our country’s leaders. 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. 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.
AU is consistently rated as one of the most politically active universities in the country. Nine US presidents have spoken on our campus. The Sine Institute of Policy and Politics is shaping the debate about the state of our politics. The students of Kennedy Political Union bring the leading voices to our campus (and our Zoom screens this fall) to engage in meaningful dialogue. And that just scratches the surface of our work in civic discourse, advocacy, and research.
We typically close the university every four years for Inauguration Day. That tradition will continue, and going forward, we will close on the general Election Day in presidential years.
This Election Day will certainly be different given the impacts of COVID-19, and Americans everywhere will participate in this year’s election in a variety of ways and times. Some will vote early, while others will go to their polling place on November 3. Some will volunteer at the polls, and others will work on behalf of candidates. No matter your activity, exercising the right to vote is something we cherish, and we are proud to stand with our community.
Please participate safely and be well.