(BLOOMINGTON) – As part of the department’s efforts to help its student-athletes be informed about and vote in the upcoming election, IU Athletics has made Nov. 3 a mandatory off-day from all athletically-related activities.
Originally announced by IU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Dolson and his predecessor Fred Glass on June 8 in an email to students and staff, it is one of a series of steps IU Athletics outlined to find and implement ways to fight racism and secure racial justice and equality.
“This measure is part of our efforts to support our students and make sure that their voices are heard,” Dolson said. “There is no more important civic responsibility than participating in the electoral process, and this will aid not only our students’ opportunity to vote but our staff as well.”
While IU was one of the first athletic departments to make this change in the spring, it has since gained momentum across the country. On Wednesday, the NCAA approved civic engagement legislation that makes Election Day a mandatory off-day annually.
In addition to making Election Day a mandatory off-day, IU Athletics is also offering programming to its students through the Excellence Academy to encourage a better understanding of the importance of voting and to be well-informed about the issues.
The ongoing programming is comprehensive, voluntary and non-partisan. It is designed to provide varied opportunities for students to understand fundamental operations of government; learn how to get information on and evaluate officeholders and candidates; and logistically to register to vote and vote.
“I am proud of our students, who have expressed a desire to collectively be more informed and involved in the democratic process while exercising this very important right,” said Deputy Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator Mattie White. “I am also proud of our coaches, who been very supportive of this change and recognize the importance of it for our students.