Accommodations for Students Voting in Municipal Elections

PDAD&C #19, 2006-07
MEMORANDUM

To:  
 Principals, Deans, Academic Directors & Chairs
From:  Vivek Goel, Vice-President & Provost
Date:
 October 5, 2006
Re:  Accommodations for Students Voting in Municipal Elections 
                                                                                      

As you are probably aware, municipal elections are scheduled to take place on Monday, November 13, 2006.

I am writing to outline the University's expectations with respect to the scheduling of academic activities in relation to the upcoming municipal elections and the accommodations of students voting in the elections.

1) Principles Concerning Student Participation in Elections
As an institution of higher learning and in consideration of various institutional objectives to encourage civic and community engagement among students, we should acknowledge and facilitate the learning opportunities that elections provide for our students.  Civic engagement contributes to society at large and strengthens educational and personal growth among students.  In this context, the University undertakes initiatives which seek to engage students in electoral processes and which facilitates the dissemination of information to students regarding the voting process and voter registration.  It is also worthwhile to keep in mind that elections occurring during a student’s time at the University may be the first opportunity in his or her life to participate in an election process.

2) Accommodations for Students Voting in Municipal Elections
It is conceivable that there may be circumstances when a scheduled academic activity such as a test or exam may conflict with a student's right to vote.  For example, a student who is employed full-time and who attends class in the evenings may find it difficult to travel back to his or her electoral district to vote even with the accommodations provided by his or her employer.  Other situations may emerge related to students who wish to vote in the polling division of their permanent residence instead of a University residence.

In some circumstances, it may be advisable to reschedule academic activities using the normal procedures.  Please keep in mind that once the timing of tests and evaluations has been set, the University’s Grading Practices Policy requires that changes to the timing of each major evaluation are subject to the consent of at least a simple majority of the students enrolled in a course.

Please ask instructors who have scheduled academic activities for November 13th, to raise the issue with their students at the earliest opportunity.

Instructors should strongly encourage students to vote at advance polls (see below).  In circumstances when students have not been able to vote in the advance polls, every reasonable opportunity should be given to these students to make up work that they miss, particularly in courses involving laboratory work. When the scheduling of tests or examinations cannot be avoided, students should be informed of the procedure to be followed to arrange to write at an alternate time.

It is most important that no student be seriously disadvantaged because of her or his participation in the electoral process. However, it is my hope that if unavoidable conflicts occur, students will choose the alternatives available to them to vote in advance.

If you have any questions regarding the above, or on related matters, please direct them to Jim Delaney, Associate Director and Senior Policy Advisor in Student Affairs at 416-978-4027 or via email to jim.delaney@utoronto.ca.

Key Dates and Information

City of Toronto
More Information: http://www.toronto.ca/elections/

Election Day:
Monday, November 13.

Weekday Advance Polls:
Weekdays from Monday, October 23 to Wednesday, November 1.

Weekend Advance Polls:
Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5.

 

City of Mississauga
More Information: http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/cityhall/elections

Election Day:
Monday, November 13.

Advance Polls:

Saturday, November 4; Monday, November 6; and Tuesday, November 7.