U. Toledo Students Will Skip Class To Vote

This story was written by Melissa Chi, The Independent Collegian


Election Day Tuesday marks the last day to vote. Even with early voting in Ohio since Oct. 2, some University of Toledo students are considering skipping class to go to the polls.

Michael Hanrahan, a sophomore with an undecided major, said he would probably skip class to go.

"Voting is more important than going to class, unless there's something important going on, like a test," he said. "I think [my professors] will understand, because they realize how important voting is."

College Republicans President Matt Rubin disagreed.

"I'm pretty sure [the precincts] are open long enough that it's not necessary to skip class," he said.

"[My class is] only one hour, so I think [my students] can come to my class and vote after that," said James Harrell, professor in environmental sciences. "As soon as my class is over, I'm heading over to the polls, and I'll ask my students to do the same."

"Personally, I am very flexible on [students skipping class on Tuesday]," said Lynn Bachelor, associate professor in political science.

She said a number of her students are involved in the election.

"I'm open to them missing class in order to get involved in the election; this is an important opportunity," she said. "I'm looking from the standpoint not so much missing class to vote, but working at the polls and being involved with Election Day work."

"[Students have] all morning and all evening to vote, assuming my class is the only class they have on that day, [but that] is usually not the case," Harrell said.

"If Tuesday is the only day they can possibly vote, then I think it's their right to vote," Vice President for the College Democrats Jon Sustar said. "[But] I'm not recommending that, because there are plenty of alternatives to vote at different times."

He said students should plan ahead so they don't have to skip class.

"I'm going to early vote," said Hillary LeMelle, a freshman majoring in biology.

She said there is a bus leaving every hour, so she can schedule to vote around her classes.

LeMelle said she understands early voting might not accommodate everyone.

"It doesn't work out for everyone, especially for people who are voting for the first time, like freshmen; they won't know what to do," she said.

"I think it is more important to vote than to make it to one class," LeMelle said. "One of my teachers even said he'd rather have us vote than go to class."

"I'm not implying that all professors should do what I do," Bachelor said.

She said it depends on the class, because in some classes the information is cumulative, and the subject becomes difficult if students miss even one class.

Since she teaches political science, she said she is more inclined to have students participate in the political process and not just in the vote.

Rubin said some students might use the election as a way to get out of class.

"It's a good excuse, especially if you have politically active professors," he said.

"My students' attendance is poor no matter what, so I don't think they need the election to stay away from my class," Harrell said. "I'm lucky to have 50 percent [of my students] attend class on a regular basis."

Sustar said vans will leave every hour to take people from the bus loop near the Student Union Building to the early voting location today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The vans are sponsored by UT for Obama and the College Democrats.

He said students who live on campus should bring a printout of the e-mail they rceived from UT between Oct. 24 to 27 to prove their residency.

For students living at the Ottawa House and the Crossings, their polling location is the Union Grove Baptist Church at 3232 Nebraska Ave., and students from the rest of the residence halls will vote at the Hope Lutheran Church at 2201 Secor Rd.
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