Students react to attending classes on Election Day

Temple students are frustrated at the university’s decision to hold classes on Nov. 8.

Mars Mahmood plans to vote in person this Election Day on Nov. 8. | EARL KUFEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

When Temple announced they would not cancel classes on Election Day, students like Mars Mahmood were frustrated they would have to work voting into their schedules with classes and school work. 

“I am not very happy about that,” said Mahmood, a freshman psychology major. “I have four classes on that Tuesday and one of my professors canceled the class, but I think my others will probably still have it, so I’m gonna like, have to like, fit time in.”

The decision from the university came after more than 4,000 people signed a petition urging the university to give students, faculty and staff a day off.

On Nov. 8, Pennsylvania will be holding its general election. With both the gubernatorial seat and one of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate positions up for grabs, this year’s election is instrumental as these races hold much of the decision-making power for the future of the state and country.

Graduate student Mary Kate Prisco will be voting in person this year because her flexible schedule permits her to be away from campus during the day, but is sympathetic to those who would have to miss class sessions for voting. 

“When I was an undergrad I had classes like all day long, so like I wasn’t able to vote in person, even if I wanted to,” Prisco said. “So, I can imagine that it’s like really frustrating.”

The university should have canceled classes for the election, said Jessica Minick, a freshman neuroscience and psychology major, who will be voting by mail this year. 

“I think it is important to vote in this election because us as college students are the face of the future, so we should have the ability to go out and vote and not be held back by our school,” Minick said.

Historically, Temple has a high voter turnout, with 73 percent of eligible voters enrolled at the university casting a ballot in 2020, while only 66.8 percent of voters casted a ballot nationwide.

Julian Carmichael, a business management major, plans to vote in person this election and will miss class if he has to, he said. 

“I mean, honestly, like just as a citizen of the United States you should vote,” Carmichael said. “Republican or Democrat, you should vote it’s just what you should do.”

Abortion rights have been a major source of debate this election cycle, specifically after Roe v. Wade was overturned this summer, allowing states to limit access to abortions or completely ban them. 

Ninety percent of Temple students are supportive of abortion in all cases, according to a September 2022 poll from The Temple News.

The two candidates for governor, Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) and State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33), have differing opinions on topics like abortion. Shapiro has pledged to veto bills that aim to limit abortion access, while Mastriano wants to ban the procedure entirely.

Graduate student Natalie Paicopolis will be casting her ballot in person this year. 

Although Paicopolis will not be missing classes on Election Day, she feels that Temple’s decision to continue holding classes was wrong. It’s uncommon for universities to give off for elections, but Temple’s move insinuates the university doesn’t care if students  vote, Paicopolis said.

The University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and La Salle University will all hold classes on Election Day.

Paicopolis is voting to protect abortion rights in Pennsylvania, she said. 

“Well for me, so my home state is Massachusetts, so I know that abortion will be protected there, but I know Pennsylvania is one of those states that it could go away if I vote, or if the wrong person gets into power, so like that’s like why I am voting,” Paicopolis said.

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