Election Day as University Holiday

October 20, 2020

Sent in Today@Brown

Members of the Brown Community,

As the University announced last month, beginning with Election Day 2020 on Tuesday, Nov. 3, federal election days will be University holidays on the academic calendar. Following a September vote by the Brown faculty, Brown will provide a paid holiday to employees on federal election days, which occur in even-numbered years and include both presidential and midterm Congressional elections, and classes and other University activities will be suspended as well.

We want to ensure that all members of the community are planning as appropriate for Election Day as a University holiday as Brown takes this important step to ensure that faculty, staff and students can engage in this important civic activity. Voting is among the most powerful tools we have as individuals to impact society.

The new paid holiday is part of the University's multifaceted efforts to promote voting among eligible members of the campus community. Brown will host a polling location Nov. 3 for the State of Rhode Island Board of Elections in the lobby of the Pizzitola Sports Center. For those voting in person, be sure to consult your local Board of Canvassers to confirm your polling location.

The decision to make Election Day a Brown holiday originated this summer in a number of venues on campus, from community town hall meetings to discussions among senior leaders. Many faculty, staff and administrators had a shared interest in deepening Brown’s long-standing commitment to serving the public good at a moment when social unrest has heightened community engagement nationwide. This November’s election will decide the next U.S. president, as well as U.S. Senate and House of Representative seats across the country. Brown’s Faculty Executive Committee — which is responsible for proposing changes to the academic calendar — prompted the full faculty vote on making Election Day a biannual University holiday.

There is substantial election-related programming being sponsored by academic departments, centers and institutes across Brown, and we hope you’ll take the opportunity to engage with issues affecting communities at federal, state and local levels. From understanding the electoral process to deliberating salient policy matters, numerous webinars planned between now and Election Day seek to promote greater awareness and understanding of a range of topics and perspectives.

Please read Today@Brown for daily updates on events of interest. We will also be planning post-election events for the campus community, and will communicate details about these opportunities in the coming weeks.

Finally, as members of the community embrace civic engagement beyond voting, we offer a reminder of the University’s Political Activity Policy, which applies to all faculty, staff and students. The Government and Community Relations office shared helpful guidance in an Oct. 8 Today@Brown message. Please review the policy for information about political activities that are and are not allowed by members of the University community (because of Brown’s non-profit status) — and how University time and resources can and cannot be used with regard to political activity.



Richard M. Locke, Provost
Barbara Chernow, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration