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Universities Cancel Classes; U. Southern California Passes

This story was written by Laura Nelson, Daily Trojan

While a handful of universities have canceled Tuesday classes to make voting more convenient for students, University of Southern California will leave class schedules unchanged, despite the possibility of students waiting hours to cast their ballots.

It has never been the case for the university to close down for Election Day, said Richard Fliegel, associate dean of undergraduate programs. Most faculty follow the general policy for the country, which is to...simply to allow people to go vote as necessary.

A few universities across the country have taken extraordinary steps to ensure students are able to vote Tuesday. At Liberty University in Virginia, Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., not only canceled all classes, but also promised to provide bus service to the polls for all students interested in voting as many as 15,000 students according to Inside Higher Education.

Other universities canceling class include Alverno College in Milwaukee and the University of Southern Maine.

USC does not plan to alter the academic schedule, officials said, because USCs student body is so large that such a move would be logistically implausible.

Perhaps what were looking at are universities with less complicated student bodies and less complicated academic programs, Fliegel said. [But USCs] student body is engaged in a large number of academic activities. If the university was going to do something like cancel classes, it would really have to do it well in advance.

Jeffrey Skinner, a senior majoring in international relations and political science, said he agrees with USCs decision.

If students want to miss class and go vote, then thats on them, Skinner said. But I dont see why the university needs to do it.

Fliegel said USC President Steven Sample and the Board of Trustees are responsible for the universitys scheduling decisions, which are made months in advance. The last time the trustees decided to cancel class was for the first celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.s birthday.

Some USC professors have opted to cancel classes themselves, but many said they have not because it is too costly to fall behind in their syllabi, especially since the polls are open all day.

But Lexie Cook, an undecided sophomore, said if students have class at inopportune times, making it to the polls might be difficult.

Having class doesnt affect me because Im an absentee ballot voter, Cook said. But if I was from the area, and couldnt vote due to class, I would think that not closing class would be really unfair.

Fliegel said some students might find it difficult to vote Tuesday, because their polling stations are located more than a mile away at the Roger Williams Baptist Church on Adams Boulevard and the Abundant Life Christian Church on Normandie Avenue.

Students who live in on-campus housing on the west side of school, such as Parkside I, Parkside II, Webb Tower, Fluor Tower and Parkside Apartments, are assigned to vote at Roger Williams.

Students living in South Ellendale, South Menlo, Abbey Road, The Pallazo, Tropicana, Centurion, La Sorbonne, Century, 30th Place west of Orchard, City Park and Menlo Apartments should vote at the Abundant Life Christian Church.

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