Election Day Should Be a Holiday at Fordham


Students shouldn’t have to change their schedules to perform their civic duty. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Michael Sluck, Production Editor

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, I traveled home to New Jersey to vote. For whatever reason, my request for a mail-in ballot never went through, so my only option was to vote in-person. Thankfully, my hometown is relatively close to Fordham, so I was able to make the trip there and back in a single day, fulfilling my civic obligation to participate in our democracy. The journey, however, was still time-consuming; I had to take multiple trains, and it took me about an hour and a half to get home. It was made even more difficult by the fact that I had to balance my schedule to fit my travels in with my classes. 

I was lucky this year because my Tuesday schedule is relatively light. Some of my friends, however, weren’t so fortunate. Some people traveled home on Monday night, in order to wake up, vote and rush back to Fordham to attend classes. But several of my friends — even those who come from the Tri-State area — had such busy schedules, they couldn’t make it home at all.

If you had a busy Tuesday, you may not have had the time to get home to vote in-person. You may have been forced to choose between voting and skipping a class, with all the negative repercussions missing class entails. In a video created for The Fordham Ram, students were asked if they voted, with several saying they lived close enough to be able to travel home to vote, but were unable to because of hectic schedules. 

The Fordham administration should make Election Day an official school holiday with no classes, allowing students time to travel home to vote. 

A large portion of Fordham’s student population is from the Tri-State Area, meaning it’s feasible for many of them to be able to vote in person. While mail-in ballots are an alternative (and the only option for those who live too far to travel home), the mail-in ballot system is much more complicated than in-person voting. There are deadlines to request ballots that students might miss. There are forms to fill out that students might complete incorrectly. The ballot might be mailed incorrectly or lost in the mail entirely. If a student lives close enough to Fordham to be able to travel home on Election Day, then that might be the preferable option. 

While young people have historically voted less than other age groups, this trend has been changing in recent years. Some polls have suggested that Gen Z’s participation in the 2022 midterms was one of the highest turn-outs of youth voters in decades, second only to 2018. Gen Z clearly wants to participate and have their voices heard. Fordham should do everything they can to make this process as easy as possible. 

In an email to the Fordham community on Monday, Nov. 7, President Tania Tetlow reminded students about the importance of voting, stating that Election Day is “the moment we each decide whether to earn our democracy or squander it.” She also asked the faculty to “be flexible with those colleagues and students needing extra time to travel home or stand in longer lines.” While this request is admirable, wouldn’t it just be easier to give everyone the entire day off? An official school holiday would reaffirm Fordham’s commitment to civic participation. 

Doing so wouldn’t only benefit students, either. Fordham faculty would also be allowed more time to vote. For all those students who live too far away to travel home to vote, the day off would just serve as a nice day-long break after the stress of midterms. 

Fordham continually stresses the importance of being “men and women for others” and that “of whom much is given, much is expected.” Civic participation — whether through volunteer service, or some other form — is often held up as one of the pillars of the Fordham community, one of the things that makes this school different from all the others. Voting is one of the simplest and most important ways that people can make a difference in their communities. 

If President Tetlow really wants students to “[m]ake your voice heard,” to “[v]ote to honor those who still do not have the privilege,” then the administration should make it as easy as possible for students to vote.

In the future, Fordham University should cancel classes on Election Day. If the Fordham administration really believes that voting is crucial to our society, then they should commit to that principle in more than just words. 

Michael Sluck, FCRH ’24, is a political science and computer science major from Verona, N.J.