Dear Members of the Colgate Community,
A presidential election year is a particularly important moment on a college campus. It is an opportunity for members of this academic community to practice the kind of civic engagement that a liberal arts education supports and prizes. It is also typically the first opportunity for many students to cast a ballot as a voting citizen.
If you haven’t already participated in early voting, I encourage you to make your voice heard this Election Day, Nov. 3. For those students who have yet to make a plan for voting, please go to the Colgate Vote Project to see the information your peers have put together about voting.
In acknowledgement of the importance of this moment, I have asked all supervisors to be extremely flexible with staff scheduling so as to allow members of our community to vote on Election Day should they choose to do so. New York State law gives employees whose schedules do not allow four consecutive hours either before or after their shifts in which to vote the right to take two hours off in order to do so, without loss of pay. But even without such state guidance, we must do everything we can to allow each of us the opportunity to engage fully as voters.
There are a number of ways to learn more about this election and its potential consequences. On Oct. 28, the Colgate Hello group is hosting Voting and the 2020 Election: Insights for Employees, and on Nov. 5, the Common Good Network and the Department of Political Science are hosting What Happened and What’s Next?: A Post-Election Conversation with Colgate Faculty for faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Additional details on programming connected to this election are forthcoming and will be available to all. Please continue to check the University calendar as these events are posted.
Should you have concerns about going to the polls on election day, New York residents can request an absentee ballot online by Oct. 27. If you intend to vote via absentee ballot, I urge you to request a ballot as soon as possible. For those choosing to vote on Nov. 3, the Colgate Cruiser will be available to help you get to our local polling site, the Hamilton Library at 13 Broad Street. This schedule is now online.
This election cycle also arrives at a time when our nation continues to struggle to respond to the global pandemic. Further, we face the possibility that the outcome of the election may not be known for some time. Finally, this voting day comes at a time when faculty and students will be preparing for another transition, as the on-campus semester winds down, students prepare to travel, and courses switch to an online mode. In short, this might prove to be an intense and complicated time. Students should know that Colgate’s support services, including the counseling center and the chaplain’s office, and the administrative deans will continue to be available throughout this period. Peer support hours will be hosted by ALANA ambassadors and COVE.
Remember, every vote matters. Truly. And while we may not agree on the issues of the day, we must engage with one another with kindness, civility, and respect.
I look forward to seeing some of you when I make the trip down the hill to cast my vote on Election Day. Remember: on Election Day wear your mask, stay 6 feet apart, and please make your voices heard.
Brian W. Casey