Make Election Day a Harvard University Holiday

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The 2020 election is one of unprecedented importance. Yet, folks all across the United States report difficulty voting, volunteering, and getting engaged because of their jobs or school. Young people, in particular, vote at alarmingly low rates.

Harvard has already taken encouraging steps to address the issue of lower voter turnout among its own students. We call on Harvard to take the next logical step, and designate Election Day as a University Holiday.

This simple designation would allow voters to participate in the civic process by voting, volunteering at the polls, and helping others cast their vote. Designating Election Day as a University Holiday wouldn't just allow Harvard's 36,000 students to engage in the election, it would help the nearly 20,000 faculty and staff members that are currently employed by Harvard. 

Dozens of peer institutions, like Brown University, American University, and the University of Utah have already designated Election Day as a University Holiday or cancelled classes.

In addition, Harvard already recognizes 12 other days as University Holidays. Surely a day as important as Election Day could be recognized as well?

The mission of Harvard College is to "educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society." As citizens, no single action is more important than exercising our right to vote. We call on Harvard to live up to their mission and let its students, faculty, and staff participate in this critical election.