Provost Nathan Urban announced Lehigh will not require the cancellation of all classes on Election Day. (Erik Thomas/B&W Staff)

Provost says Lehigh won’t require all classes be canceled on Election Day in response to petition


Provost Nathan Urban announced in an email today that the university will not require campus-wide cancellation of all meetings, classes and tests on Election Day. 

The announcement is in response to the Hawk the Vote initiative, started by David Owolabi, ‘20, to cancel classes on Nov. 3 to make it easier for more students to vote. 

The goal of the initiative is to get 100 percent voter registration among the student body and increase political engagement at Lehigh. 

At a Sept. 4 Faculty Senate meeting, 96 percent of faculty members present had voted in favor of formally recommending the administration cancel classes on Election Day. 

Urban said he made the decision not to cancel all classes on Nov. 3 “given the disruptions to the teaching schedule already implemented in response to the pandemic.” He said in his announcement there can be steps to cancel or reschedule meetings, calls, classes or tests on Election Day to allow students and faculty members to reduce barriers to civic engagement. 

“Steps to be considered should include, but are not limited to, canceling or rescheduling meetings or calls scheduled for Nov. 3; considering flexible work location and scheduling options for those team members choosing to vote in-person; rescheduling on-campus lectures or tests scheduled for Nov. 3; and, in the case of synchronous online instruction, preparing lectures or tests for asynchronous delivery,” the email said. 

In his announcement, Urban commended the leaders of the Hawk the Vote initiative, writing that he was “very impressed.”

“I commend those at Lehigh who are working to inform and encourage members of our community to be active and engaged citizens around elections and other activities,” Urban said. “I am inspired by their commitment to and enthusiasm for civic engagement, and hope all members of the Lehigh community are equally motivated to participate this year and in years to come.”

Urban said in future years, the school will work to structure the academic calendar and academic obligations around the elections. The school is confident they can facilitate a robust engagement in the election by members of the campus community, he said in the email. 

“I encourage all students, faculty and staff to engage in the educational events and discourse that are taking place in advance of the election,” Urban said. “The Hawk the Vote initiative has planned a series of events for Nov. 3. We will be posting information about these soon.” 

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