Today is Election Day. People are lined up at the polls, and news anchors are keeping tabs on the vote count. Temple students are in class.
Skipping class happens often on college campuses. Sick days, family situations, appointments and travel are among the common reasons students miss class. Laziness is another. But today, students who skip class aren’t really missing anything.
There is no better reason to skip class than to vote for the next leader of our country. Some professors and administrators feel that students who skip class are missing out on an important part of education. Although attendance is perhaps the most important key to a complete education, the best way to learn anything is through experience.
What students miss during one math class or one biology lab is minor when you consider the reason for skipping class.
Many Temple students have already voted through their absentee ballots. But those who live nearby campus – maybe only 20 or 30 minutes away – need to go home to cast their ballots in their appropriate districts. They should not be penalized for missing a class or two to vote.
That is not to say every student should skip class on Election Day. Those who have already voted or have time to vote between classes should not use the day as an excuse to cut class. But students who truly are unable to vote without missing class should be given excused absences.
Higher education is a privilege allowed to us by laws like those which demand equal opportunity, affirmative action and government aid. Those laws are byproducts of people exercising their right to vote. Today’s college students are tomorrow’s world leaders and the next generation’s educators. We need to set a precedent to show the importance and responsibility of voting. Skipping class to sleep in is irresponsible, but skipping class to vote is nothing short of necessary.
It is unrealistic to expect the country to shut down for everyone to vote. Things still need to get done, and our economy can’t afford a full day without production. Temple administrators do not need to shut down campus or cancel all classes, but instructors should be able to cancel class at their own discretion, and students should be excused from class to vote if necessary.
Lessons learned outside the classroom are often the most valuable. This is the first presidential election many Temple students are able to vote in. We should feel free to exercise that right without fear of consequence.