Accommodations for Students Voting in the Provincial Election October 10 2007

PDAD&C #10, 2007-08



To: Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs
From: Vivek Goel, Vice-President and Provost
Date: September 14, 2007
Re: Accommodations for Students Voting in the Provincial Election (October 10, 2007)

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. With this in mind, University residence departments and various campus organizations are being encouraged to undertake initiatives that seek to engage students in the electoral process.

2) Accommodations for students voting in elections

It is conceivable that there may be circumstances when a scheduled academic activity such as a test or mid-term exam may conflict with a student's right to vote.

For example, since the polls to not open until 9:30AM in this region, it is possible that a person 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 each major evaluation is subject to the consent of at least a simple majority of the student enrolled in a course.

Please ask instructors who have scheduled academic activities (like tests or exams) for October 10 to raise the issue with their students at the earliest opportunity.

In the event that instructors do have an activity scheduled on October 10, instructors should encourage students to vote by special ballot or at advance polls to cause the least amount of disruption to their classes. In circumstances when students have not been able to vote in the advance polls or have not arranged to vote by special ballot, 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 of examinations cannot be avoided, students should be informed of the procedure to be followed to arrange an alternate writing time.

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

If you have any questions about election-related issues as they relate to students of the University of Toronto, please contact Jim Delaney (Associate Director, Student Affairs) or Mike LeSage (Administrative Coordinator, Government, Institutional and Community Relations).


Jim Delaney

Mike LeSage