During the Fall 2020 semester, juniors Olivia Slack, Lupe Vazquez and Madison Sholar sent a letter and the link to a change.org petition to Meredith College President Jo Allen and Senior Vice President and Provost Matthew Poslusny. The letter was written to express student concerns and wishes about having Election Day off from classes so students could vote. Over 400 students signed the petition and many organization presidents signed the letter. After a period of deliberation, the Academic Council voted to accept the proposal for giving Election Day off from classes this April.
Slack, Vazquez and Sholar met with Dr. Allen and Dr. Poslusny in October 2020 to express their concerns and wishes in more detail. After six months of deliberation and consideration, the three students spoke to the Academic Council on April 9, 2021. The Academic Council voted to accept this calendar change at that time, and the change will take place during the Fall 2022 semester, when midterm elections occur.
When asked for a statement in regard to this decision, Lupe Vazquez stated that she is “eager for the benefit to come. This decision to grant Election Day off is not only progressive but an example of Meredith College listening to the student body. My hope is that this is not the end.” Dr. Poslusny stated that “Academic Council is a committee made up of faculty representatives from each academic department and several ex officio members from across campus…The members of the Academic Council were fully in support of giving Election Day off in 2022. While a great many of our students vote prior to Election Day, we wanted to ensure that all students have the opportunity to vote.”
To Slack, Vazquez and Sholar, as well as many students who signed the petition and letter, this decision is a victory for students and civil rights. Planning ahead for a day off from classes in future years shows students that their voices matter and that voting is a priority at Meredith College.
By Freya Dahlgren, Staff Writer