The 2020 election

Dear U community,

This coming Tuesday, you will have a final opportunity this year to engage in one of the hallmarks of American democracy: Casting your vote for judicial and political candidates to represent us at the city, county, state and federal levels. For those of you who are eligible to vote, we encourage you to exercise this right. Your voice matters.

We have taken several steps to make it easy for you to participate in the election. As in the past, we will host an on-campus polling location—this year at the Huntsman Center, with numerous health protocols in place in keeping with coronavirus precautions. All Utah residents who have not yet cast a ballot and who are eligible to vote in Salt Lake County can vote at this location. The polls are open on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. This story includes more details about voting on campus.

We have encouraged faculty, instructors, coaches and supervisors to be flexible and supportive of students who want to engage in political activities on Tuesday by not issuing assignments, scheduling quizzes and tests or holding practices and competitions on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4.

This year’s general election has been preceded by a pandemic that has disrupted many aspects of daily life, a summer of unrest and protest over police violence and systemic racism and political debates that have at times been contentious. We recognize that many on our campus are feeling anxious about the election and the potential outcomes and impacts.

The role of a university is to foster free speech, respectful discourse and engagement with ideas that may be different from our own. We are asking our community to uphold those values during this difficult time. As you vote and watch the results come in, we encourage you to be mindful of the deep passion that accompanies an election and also the stress many are experiencing right now. We ask that you share your reactions in a manner that is respectful and empathetic toward those who may hold different views.

Several campus entities are sponsoring events on Tuesday and in the days that follow to explain the results and offer support to those who may need it. Some of these include:

  • ASUU Stress Buster Week, Nov. 3-11, featuring a variety of support groups, self-care tips, stress buster activities.
  • Hinckley Institute of Politics, Nov. 4, 1:30-2:45 p.m., virtual discussion of election results and implications for the future.
  • University Counseling Center, virtual drop-in support group from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 4 and, if needed, Nov. 5.
  • International Student & Scholar Services will host a virtual panel discussion on Nov. 10 from 4-5 p.m. about potential political impacts of election results.

This year has been incredibly challenging and required us all to show extraordinary patience and resilience—qualities we may need again should an extended ballot count become necessary. As One U, we can model how a campus comes together, bridges divides and differences of opinion, and finds ways to move forward as a community. Thanks for joining us in that effort.

 

Ruth Watkins
President

Mike Good
Senior Vice President for Health Sciences

Dan Reed
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs