American University details plan to close for Election Day

American University President Sylvia Burwell plans to cancel classes on Election Day, citing “civic engagement and the pursuit of American democratic ideals” as being part of the D.C. university’s foundational principles.

In an announcement to the campus community on Monday, Burwell said AU will be closed on Nov. 3. The university has traditionally closed for inaugurations, Burwell wrote, but starting this year will be closed for presidential elections.

The decision came after students urged the university to cancel classes on Election Day, The Washington Post reported.

Synchronous classes will be canceled, and university offices will be closed, enabling staff to have the day as a paid day off.

“AU students, faculty, and staff — changemakers to the core — put their knowledge and purpose to work to make our country and our world a better place,” Burwell’s letter said. “And true to that spirit, this fall our students fostered a broad and constructive dialogue about the value of supporting our community by making Election Day a university holiday.”

While Burwell said the voting process will be different this year because of the pandemic, “exercising the right to vote is something we cherish, and we are proud to stand with our community,” she wrote.

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