October 20, 2010

Should professors use class time to urge students to vote?

I'm getting internal university email telling faculty to do that (with a reminder to keep it "nonpartisan").

176 comments:

1jpb said...

It be nice to have our schools inculcate the importance of voting.

Scott M said...

They certainly should. It's quite easy to push voting without pushing a side. Voting is a civic duty. Very few people honestly (honestly being the operative word) don't vote to make a statement.

Chase said...

Why not, if it's non-partisan, and it does not violate the conscience of the America-hating Professors?

Is Ward Churchill still a professor?
Anita Hill?

PatCA said...

No, I don't think they should. This year, we all know the Repubs/Indies are all fired up and the issue for the Dems is turnout.

I vote no!

Ann Althouse said...

My answer is no. Students are in my class to get a legal education, not to be prompted to fulfill responsibilities that are outside of the scope of the course they are taking with me. I don't take their time to tell them to brush their teeth or look after their children either.

Hagar said...

I have never understand this American exhortation to vote because it is good for tour digestion or something.

If you are disposed to favor the issues and candidates I favor, then by all means, go vote, but if you are otherwise inclined, I would prefer that you stay home.

Scott M said...

I don't take their time to tell them to brush their teeth or look after their children either.

Correct, but you're not teaching a class on hygiene. Law involves civics, does it not?

Bruce Hayden said...

Obviously, I think, the reason that the university is being pushed is that a lot of its students last time around voted for Obama and the Democrats. So, yes, this is a fairly transparent vehicle to gin up the Democratic vote while trying to appear non-partisan.

Pastafarian said...

ScottM, Chase, how is encouraging them to fulfill a civic duty within the scope of the university's function?

Do they also spend class time telling them to wear rubbers when having sex with one another? Do they tell them to wash their hands after restroom breaks at their job at Senior Burrito?

I think we all know what's going on here. The young, particularly the coddled young found disproportionately in universities (as opposed to young people in the military, say, or otherwise earning their living) vote overwhelmingly D. Similarly, university administrators, having never had to actually work for their money and having never left the womb of academia, are forever in an arrested state of adolescence, and so they're overwhelmingly liberal too. They encourage students to vote because they know that the vast majority will vote the same way that the administrators will.

Scott M said...

If you are disposed to favor the issues and candidates I favor, then by all means, go vote, but if you are otherwise inclined, I would prefer that you stay home.

What if you're lazy, apathetic, and have bought whole-hog into the notion that individual votes don't matter because it reinforces your laziness and apathy? This describes a great deal of people I know, a few of whom are in their 50's and claim to not have voted once.

Deplorable.

AJ Lynch said...

I say no. Unless it's part of the school's mission statement?

edutcher said...

Ain't yer job, Ma'am. Besides, too many profs wouldn't be able to stop there.

To wit, some Cincinnati high schools had their kids vote on ballots with only Demo candidates. Granted, it's high school, but some of those kids were eligible, I'll bet.

Roux said...

No they should not.

Calypso Facto said...

Well that's exactly the point, right Hagar? The school administrators (read: liberal Democrats) are confidant that the students will support the Democratic Party. And by exhorting the student body to vote, the university staff gets to claim high-minded civic duty while pimping their party's chances.

Althouse should not be persuaded to disingenuously persuade.

Sheepman said...

A weak perhaps for undergrads, but definitely not at a grad school. At some point we have to assume that students are adults.

PatCA said...

I will just point to Ann's previous post about the rude behavior towards O'Donnell to illustrate that this is not a neutral civics lesson but partisan campaigning.

1jpb said...

"not to be prompted to fulfill responsibilities that are outside of the scope of the course they are taking with me"

Never?

Nothing non-course related ever gets in the classroom?

Not even a word about WI football, when they kick ass? Or, perhaps some other campus activities? Nothing, not even glib quips now and then?

Presumably all that stuff is directed at the blog.

Pastafarian said...

ScottM said: "What if you're lazy, apathetic, and have bought whole-hog into the notion that individual votes don't matter because it reinforces your laziness and apathy? This describes a great deal of people I know, a few of whom are in their 50's and claim to not have voted once."

All the more reason not to encourage them to vote, and dilute the wisdom of crowds with opinions formed by a lazy, apathetic mind.

Scott M said...

I understand the practical application point being made regarding the ultimate goal in getting out the young vote (highly pro-Democrat...just ask Winston Churchill), but I stand by the responsibility to civics. I appear to be in the minority, but I still believe that voting in our local/state/national elections should be a cherished right and celebrated as such.

mariner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Because I Said So said...

Yes they should. Because as 18-24 year olds, they might not be aware that there is an election coming up. And mommy should remind them to go potty before they go to bed too.

Seriously, at what point can we cut the metaphorical umbilical cord?

BJK said...

Given the block-voting patterns typically associated with "The Youth Vote," there is nothing nonpartisan about encouraging university students to vote.

Especially in Madison, WI (speaking as an alumnus).

If a student - much less a law student - truly values their right to vote, they don't need to be told to go to the polls. That this encouragement could only really effect students at the margins makes this more of a low-rent 'Get Out the Vote' effort disguised as a call to civic duty.

Lincolntf said...

The local HBCU "forgot" the non-partisan part and sent 6,400 e-mails urging students and faculty to vote early and to vote for Democrats.

Meanwhile the erstwhile local paper sniffed about how the Republicans were being too sensitive....

"Some 6,400 staffers and students at Winston-Salem State University received e-mail exhortations Monday to take advantage of early voting and help the Democratic Party, setting off local Republicans...."

Hagar said...

There is "civic duty" to vote. The nearest thing to a "civic duty" would be that you, if you have decided to go vote, first make some attempt to inform yourself about the issues and candidates on the ballot with a view to at least have your vote go in support of principles you actually favor.

Coketown said...

In a western civ. class I took during the '04 elections, we were given 10 points extra credit on an exam for showing our "I Voted" stickers. I see nothing wrong with instructors urging students to get involved politically. But spare me the "keep it nonpartisan" tripe. If you urge college students to vote, you know it'll favor Democrats.

pm317 said...

Too bad they can't bus you guys like they do with HS students.

"Three van loads of Hughes High students were taken last week – during school hours – to vote and given sample ballots only for Democratic candidates and then taken for ice cream, a Monday lawsuit alleges."
Article here.

campy said...

It doesn't matter who votes or doesn't vote. Massive, systematic fraud is going to decide this election and every other election for decades to come.

Hagar said...

Oops! I am getting to excited. That should, of course, be: There is no "civic duty".....

traditionalguy said...

Only certified Conservatives free from RINO taints should be allowed to tell students how to vote, I meant how to go exercise their franchise.

rdkraus said...

No, as others have said, encouraging college or law school students to vote is inherently partisan.

Besides, voting is vastly overrated. I usually do, but I don't delude myself into thinking I'm making any big (or even small) difference.

Let's face it, most people are so ignorant, we'd be better off if they didn't vote.

Hagar said...

Tg,

Exactly!

former law student said...

My thought was similar to ipjb's. If there's any time in class set aside for announcements of general interest, a word about voting would not be out of place. Or, if the professor is used to saying, "See you next Thursday" in parting, a quick "Go Badgers," or "Don't forget to vote" would also fit in.

But don't make any special time for this -- the kids know there's an election coming up.

t-man said...

Althouse -

Has the university asked this of its professors in prior years? If so, then I would reconsider my initial gut reaction that the University is improperly coordinating with Obama's campaign to get out the youth vote.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

No because the academy has proven that it can't and mostly won't act in a non-partisan fashion.

Just let it be...

Bob_R said...

I'm with Althouse - though in fact, the last time I had a Calculus 1 full of freshmen I did urge them to eat right, get as much sleep as possible, and refrain from too much partying as exams approached. But I felt that was related to surviving academically. Didn't mention brushing teeth and bathing, though I have had a few students who needed to have it mentioned.

I think my maximum in terms of "teaching" civic responsibility is wearing one of those "I Voted" stickers to class. You generally don't want mathematicians teaching civic responsibility.

c3 said...

Do they get extra credit for voting?

Calypso Facto said...

But OF COURSE the university staff will be non-partisan in urging students to vote. Just like the Democratic pep rally held on campus last month was.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If your students haven't figured out that voting is an important civic duty by now, they are pretty worthless and clueless.

This is not part of your duties as an educator. The University should be minding its own business.

No.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

It be nice to have our schools inculcate the importance of voting.


I'd like them to teach the importance of thinking first.

Hagar said...

Campy,

Voting does matter.

I do not think that vote fraud is as general or as massive as the pseudo-cynical among us claim. But in close elections they do matter, and for all the hullabaloo about this being a Republican "wave" election, the voting in many precincts are likely to be close, so by all means go vote.

Provided your heart is pure and untainted by any Democrat or RINO sympathies, of course!

MadisonMan said...

When I taught in class -- at night -- I would write on the board Don't forget to vote on Tuesday, or I hope you voted. That's not taking up much class time at all.

In my discussion boards for the online version of the class I do now, I will mention voting occasionally. I mention a lot of things. My posts are very stream of conscious.

Richard Dolan said...

So the admin-types at UW want you to engage in some harmless hectoring of a captive paying audience assembled for other purposes. No surprise there, but even if you do, it's very unlikely to have any real world impact. As Glenn R would say, what else do you expect from university administrators?

traditionalguy said...

So no visiting Lecturers such as Professor Obama, or Professor Bloomberg, will be sharing their "TO DO OR ELSE "lists? Sounds good to me. The Party's of political officers in Dr Zhivago could never happen here. Although a Wisconsin winter really does ressemble Siberia.

SteveR said...

I suppose its better than the "partisan" rantings many students hear otherwise. I do think a voter who needs reminding is probably not a very well informed voter. Should they not vote? Of course not. But they for sure should only vote once.

bagoh20 said...

Do students do what their professors tell them to with their own time? That would be pathetic. And if you need your professor to tell you to vote, then I prefer you don't.

Original Mike said...

I'm getting internal university email telling faculty to do that

I haven't received that e-mail. Did it originate in the law school?

Jay Vogt said...

On principle, I'd say a "no".

w/r/t nonparticism, I think also a no.

While that (nonparticism) my be the intent, and it may be clearly speeled out and implemented in the communication plan, the effect would certainly be partisan.

What's an educated guess as to the percentange of young people, in law school, in Madsion that might vote in a particular fashion. Rhetorical question there.

Sort of like sending the Boise Idaho, senior citizens gun club a get out the vote communication.

You pretty much know what you're getting.

Michael said...

No. But it would be interesting to know if this is a routine urging on the part of the administration or a new feature of its heretofore unrevealed patriotism.

The Musket said...

I'm from the old school that says college is about learning skills to be productive. I say no. The students are in class to learn the specific subject of the class, e.g., in chemistry teach chemistry. If the instructor has extra time to promote voting, they should use it to further the subject, i.e., reinforce chemistry. Besides-- there's plenty of vote urging going on out there anyway.

former law student said...

Original Mike said...
I'm getting internal university email telling faculty to do that

I haven't received that e-mail.


OMG! The university doesn't want OM's students to vote. Does he teach perhaps economics?

roesch-voltaire said...

In my class, I say it is important to vote because democracy depends on our participation, which somehow seems as important as brushing our teeth,which I do not urge them to do, although I do ask them to examine their study habits. I only do this once, and make it clear this is a non-partisain issue.

Jim B said...

If you're not interested enough to have formed an opinion about the candidates yet, then I DON'T WANT YOU VOTING.

If you're the kind of person who needs to be reminded by your professor to gov ote, then I DON'T WANT YOU VOTING.

If you're the kind of person who thinks that it's a good idea to encourage disinterested people who obviously have no idea who or what they will be voting for when they enter the booth, then I DON'T WANT YOU VOTING EITHER.

This is the great fallacy of getting "everyone" to vote. There are a whole lot of people that SHOULDN'T be voting. They have no idea who or what they're doing, and everybody winds up paying the price for their ignorance.

Which is why Democrats are constantly encouraging first-time voters: only the truly ignorant and naiive who don't remember the results of putting Democrats in power last time are dumb enough to pull the lever for them this time around.

Rialby said...

JIM B - AGREED!

TMink said...

Voting is good for America. VOTE! I did.

Trey

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
k*thy said...

I'm going to guess that if the Dean of Students sent out an email discouraging you from promoting this simple act civil engagement, and it got out, the UW would catch hell in the arena of public opinion. This is a public university and I think with that, comes some expectation of civic duty. If this were a private university, I might agree with you.

The Musket said...

" Lincolntf said...

The local HBCU "forgot" the non-partisan part and sent 6,400 e-mails urging students and faculty to vote early and to vote for Democrats."

At least they did say Vote Often!

Comrade X said...

I would actively encourage them not to vote because their votes would dilute those of the productive members of sciety.

Original Mike said...

OMG! The university doesn't want OM's students to vote.

You know what? You may be right. I teach a graduate level course in the Med School. They may not want them to vote.

traditionalguy said...

Jim B...In South Carolina the Dems' voters always pick the first name on the ballot.Greene was listed first. No Zimmerman's need apply. The best idea for Dems may be a name change to Ace Aaron

garage mahal said...

This is the great fallacy of getting "everyone" to vote. There are a whole lot of people that SHOULDN'T be voting.

I can see why you wouldn't like that. If everyone votes the GOP loses.

Sixty Grit said...

Here in NC, "someone" at Winston-Salem State University sent an email to 6,400 students and staffers urging them to vote democrat. Kind of silly, really, as a historically black university it is guaranteed 99%+ democrat, unlike most schools, where that percentage might be slightly lower.

But there you have it - vote early and often.

The Musket said...

oops - make that DIDN'T say to Vote Often!

Original Mike said...

Talked to a student yesterday who's family lives in Illinois. The family dog got a mailing urging him to register. No word on who Fido supports for the Senate.

MadisonMan said...

I haven't received that e-mail.

It just showed up in my in-box, from Lori Berquam. Tell students to register to vote, today's the deadline, voting is a civic duty yadda yadda yadda.

Jim B said...

garage -

I can see why you wouldn't like that. If everyone votes the GOP loses.

You're absolutely right. Democrats will win the uninformed and historically ignorant vote every time.

Thanks for pointing that out.

traditionalguy said...

Voting is a traditioal activity for middleclass citizens. The reminder needs to go out to lazy bums and marginalised communities. So the GOP notices printed and sent out to these guys usually lists the Election Day as one day later. None of their friends vote either to tell them otherwise. Karl Rove, you magnficent bastard.

garage mahal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

It's a charade, these elections. Republicrats, it makes no difference.

garage mahal said...

You're absolutely right. Democrats will win the uninformed and historically ignorant vote every time.

So you're for college professors urging students to vote? What about blacks and hispanics? Do you urge them to vote? Jews? These are historically solid Democrat voting blocs. Are they uninformed and historically ignorant?

Jim B said...

alex -

It's a charade, these elections. Republicrats, it makes no difference.

Really? Tell that to all the people who opposed Porkulus, Cap-n-Tax and ObamaCare.

But yeah...they passed because Republicans locked arms with Democrats in a bipartisan effort to get all of these things passed.

What? Do you mean they didn't?

Oh...

Then the Republicans must be campaigning on taking away the secret ballot for union members, expanding ObamaCare even further, raising taxes, and finally getting Cap-n-Tax through too.

What? Do you mean they aren't?

Oh...

My bad....

Maybe there IS a difference after all.

AllenS said...

Yes, by all means, urge the students to vote. Remind them that Republicans vote on Tuesday and Democrats vote on Wednesday.

Then tell the administration to fuck off.

Jim B said...

garage -

So you're for college professors urging students to vote? What about blacks and hispanics? Do you urge them to vote? Jews? These are historically solid Democrat voting blocs. Are they uninformed and historically ignorant?

What part of NO are you having the greatest difficulty with? The N or the HELL-NO?

If you aren't ALREADY prepared to vote because you've taken the time to familiarize yourself with the issues and the candidates, I DON'T CARE WHAT PARTY YOU BELONG TO, YOU SHOULDN'T BE VOTING.

But go ahead and try to make this about your racist and bigoted separation of Americans into your conveniently-labeled identity groups instead of about informed vs. uninformed voters.

It says A LOT more about you than it does about anyone else.

Original Mike said...

I agree with the thinking that if someone is not self-motivated to vote, they are likely uninformed. It is not to society's benefit for uninformed people to vote.

Meade said...

1jpb said...
"It be nice to have our schools inculcate the importance of voting."

Also, it would be nice to have a U.S. Department of Inculcation.

The Secretary of Inculcation would set policy for public schools to inculcate in students the importance of voting for politicians who would, once elected, appoint Secretaries of Inculcation who would set policy...

garage mahal said...

Jim
You said "Democrats will win the uninformed and historically ignorant vote every time."

I'm wondering if the groups of people I mentioned fit that category.

Also, all the Republicans that didn't turn out to vote for McCain int he last election, are they also uninformed and ignorant?

DADvocate said...

No. College students are adults. Universities don't need to treat them like children. If they aren't responsible and motivated enough to vote without a nanny professor's reminder, they shouldn't.

John Burgess said...

>> What if you're lazy, apathetic, and have bought whole-hog into the notion that individual votes don't matter because it reinforces your laziness and apathy?

Sound like exactly the kind of people I don't want voting! If they can't get their shit together over voting, then why should I even begin to assume they've got their shit together over substantive issues?

Their attitude may suit them to hold jobs in Congress--apparently--but the emphasis on 'feel good' rather than 'make good sense' is not what I want from government. I've already far too much.

Sigivald said...

If they have to be urged in order to bother to do so, they shouldn't vote.

Self-selection.

Jim B said...

garage -

I'm wondering if the groups of people I mentioned fit that category.

Also, all the Republicans that didn't turn out to vote for McCain int he last election, are they also uninformed and ignorant?


Once again you want to play the racist and bigoted identity group game.

In EVERY possible subdivision of people, there will be some percentage of them who are uninformed and/or ignorant: and that includes white Ivy Leaguers.

So the short answer to your question is: YES.

As far as CHOOSING not to vote as a method of showing your dissatisfaction with the choices you've been presented, that's a perfectly legitimate choice too.

Why do you hate people who make choices? Does EVERYONE have to follow you down the road into bigotry and racism, or can people make their own decisions without being bullied or otherwise coerced into making a choice that YOU prefer instead?

If people have either consciously or subconsciously made the choice not to engage in the electoral process, then as Americans they have that choice. Why do you Leftists hate choice?

Rialby said...

What about blacks and hispanics? Do you urge them to vote? Jews? These are historically solid Democrat voting blocs.

So, they don't know enough to vote without being told to do so? Should all civil servants be expected to make sure that people of certain colors, creeds or ethnicities do their "civic duty". Not sure what you're getting at here except to throw something into the mix that doesn't belong.

former law student said...

A reminder that today is the last day to register hardly seems helpful, unless there's some place right on campus to do so.

Here people are always setting up stands at street fairs or in malls: "Democrats Register Here," or "Republicans Register Here." But they don't wait till the last minute to sign people up.

former law student said...

If the kids don't vote, then old people's votes are worth that much more.

Alex said...

FLS - old people are wiser and don't vote half cocked like 18-24yo do.

Original Mike said...

Today's the deadline to register? You can register at the polls. I don't understand.

Jim B said...

rialby -

Not sure what you're getting at here except to throw something into the mix that doesn't belong.

That's precisely garage's point. He's still trying to play "the other guys hate minorites" game even after it became obvious to all the other Democrats how self-defeating that was.

It's because he can't help himself but think of people by which identity group they belong to. So ANY AND ALL thoughts must be filtered through his personal lens of bigotry and racism.

MLK is rolling over in his grave every time garage posts.

garage mahal said...


Why do you hate people who make choices? Does EVERYONE have to follow you down the road into bigotry and racism, or can people make their own decisions without being bullied or otherwise coerced into making a choice that YOU prefer instead?


You're the one that seems to have a lot of rules on who should be able to vote. You're also the one that claimed Democrats get the ignorant and uninformed vote. And that's odd considering we're talking about people voting that are currently getting an education.

It's all pretty silly anyway. The GOP is spending millions and millions of dollars urging conservatives to get out and vote! Are they lazy, apathetic and/or stupid?

Original Mike said...

Frankly, I'm not sure why the Dems would want young people voting. It's their future that's being mortgaged.

bagoh20 said...

"You're also the one that claimed Democrats get the ignorant and uninformed vote. And that's odd considering we're talking about people voting that are currently getting an education. "

It's exactly that "education" that makes them uninformed, except on leftist ideology.

former law student said...

OM makes a good point. Today is the last day to register by mail, but there seems to be no advantage to it.

Sofa King said...

If you don't know or care enough about the election to know or care to vote, then I think you have a civic duty NOT to vote.

t-man said...

Is this the same Lori Berquam who was disappointed in the fall of 2007 that Wisconsin students were not protesting more to demand a pullout of our forces in Iraq?

Yeah. I'll bet she sent that email out as a non-partisan civic reminder.

Hagar said...

If Garage is truthful about the way he makes his living, he rather reminds me of the fellows I worked with in construction during summer vacations in high school. We would discuss politics on breaktimes, and they would express opinions well to the right of either of the Pauls, John Wayne, or Barry Goldwater, and I would say, "Goody! Then you are voting Conservative?" But they would say, "Hell, no! We are voting Labor, because Labor is for the laboring man!"
And no amount of reasoning could convince them otherwise.

1jpb said...

Okay Meade.

Rewrite, to flesh out the word 'importance':

"It'd be nice to have our schools inculcate in our students the idea that the only way American exceptionalism can be maintained is if our citizens become educated about our history and our current challenges, and then use this knowledge to guide them at the ballot box."

Notice that my first comment didn't recommend telling them to vote. I recommended telling them why voting is important.

Original Mike said...

If you don't know or care enough about the election to know or care to vote, then I think you have a civic duty NOT to vote.

I don't know if you meant this S.K., or if you're joking, but I wholeheartedly agree. I don't vote for coroner, or clerk of courts, or all those other offices I have absolutely no idea about. I feel it would be wrong.

Drew said...

Practically speaking, I'd prefer college professors not encourage students to vote because I suspect that far too many of them would be unable to keep their own views separate from the exhortation.

MadisonMan said...

Today's the deadline to register? You can register at the polls. I don't understand.

That's 'cause I screwed up in reading the email and relaying what it says :) The only useful information in the email, really, is a link to a site that tells you where to vote.

I don't think a reminder is a bad idea. Many students aren't misinformed, they're just forgetful. I can totally see some of my students not realizing what day it is on Election Day.

AJ Lynch said...

PB&J:

Is there an irrefutable argument that proves without a doubt that voting is important?

PatCA said...

I just heard a caller on Limbaugh's show state that her son was told by his college prof that he had to vote and bring 3 people with him to vote in order to make his grade. Not extra credit but required.

I'm beginning to think there's a journolist for professors or something. Ya think?

This is pretty risky behavior in this day of instant communication. These tricks are just firing up the righty base even more!

Jim B said...

garage -

You're the one that seems to have a lot of rules on who should be able to vote. You're also the one that claimed Democrats get the ignorant and uninformed vote. And that's odd considering we're talking about people voting that are currently getting an education.

I don't have any rules. I said "I DON'T WANT." That's a personal preference for an informed vote. Why are you so scared of only informed voters voting? Why do you insist on trying to talk about ANYTHING other than a preference for only those who are informed about the issues and candidates?

Are you really THAT scared to death that if only informed voters show up at the polls that your preferred candidates will get utterly shellacked?

Why, yes. Yes you are. Your only hope is that the uninitiated and ignorant voters who aren't paying attention can once again be fooled into voting for Democrats.

Go take a bath because your entire line of argumentation reeks of absolute desperation to avoid having informed voters go to the polls and render judgment on the utter failure of Obama and the Democratic Party.

rhhardin said...

Students tend to vote democrat. Hence the interest in getting them to vote.

So it's not from pure if misguided motives. It's an idea from some democrat.

AJ Lynch said...

Patca:
"risky behavior"?

Only if they had a moral compass to begin with. But no to them, it's win at any cost. Like RHardin just suggested, these "initiatives" likely originated at a high level Democrat conference call organized by a "non-partisan" non-profit like the one John Podesta runs.

Your suggestion that there is a Journolist for Educrats is a good one!

1jpb said...

"Is there an irrefutable argument that proves without a doubt that voting is important?"

Voting is not important for folks who are not affected by the government. Do you know many of those folks?

Pat,

Have you ever considered that folks getting on Rush's air could be making stuff up?

garage mahal said...

Jim
You didn't answer. Why are Republican groups spending millions of dollars trying to get Republicans out to vote?

Alex said...

garage - it's because the Rethugs know that if we had 100% voter turnout the Democrats would be a permanent super majority.

former law student said...

I can totally see some of my students not realizing what day it is on Election Day.

See, old people don't have this problem, because one of the home's staff will write it on the white board in the day room. (Along with Today's Dessert: Apple Brown Betty)

PatCA said...

"Have you ever considered that folks getting on Rush's air could be making stuff up?


Yes. She read Althouse and decided to call Rush to spread the, er, meme!

And if it were a single instance, I would consider it strongly. But obviously it's not a single anecdote.

GMay said...

I'm of the mind of a couple of other commenters who already pointed out - is this how the University admin has always handled this?

If the answer is yes, then I'm ambivalent on the issue.

If no, then I suspect the motives aren't clean and you can put me down for a "no"

GMay said...

Alex observed: "it's because the Rethugs know that if we had 100% voter turnout the Democrats would be a permanent super majority."

It's true. The Dead voting bloc is huuuuge.

AJ Lynch said...

PB&J:

So your answer is no- there is no irrefutable argument that proves voting is important.

rhhardin said...

On voting in general, it doesn't pay to vote.

The odds of anything you care about being decided by your vote are zero.

If everybody thought that way, it would be worth voting. But they don't, so it isn't.

But consider some math.

If you disagree with your neighbor and you both vote, you cancel each other out. It's 1-1.

But if you persuade your neighbor your way, and don't vote yourself, it's 1-0 your way.

Persuading is more powerful than voting.

Now consider if you persuade two people, or a thousand, or a million.

That's getting up where you can influence something. At least what's what I go by.

A similar way of thinking suggests that getting students to vote might be more effective than voting yourself.

1jpb said...

Pat,

I'm sorry that you can't tell the difference between the Rush story, and the UW email? You won't believe this, but they are not the same thing. Likewise, it would be yet another step (or two) away from the UW email if someone calls in to Rush and says that their teachers told them that they will only pass the class if they go out and murder a person who is on their way to a polling place.

Michael said...

Alex: Is it true that you are supporting Al Green for the US Senate seat open in S.C.? You have some of his debating skills but I wonder if you are otherwise keeping up with his successes.

Alex said...

1pbj - why are so up in arms about Rush Limbaugh? When has he ever lied?

1jpb said...

I appreciate the multi faceted Alex.

LOL

Alex said...

I think I need to gargle after spending time on this comment thread.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's true. The Dead voting bloc is huuuuge.

Superdad said...

Voting is not a duty or an obligation and the idea that it is a good thing for morons who spend absolutely no time engaged in the public issues and debates of the day should vote is ridiculous.

campy said...

If you disagree with your neighbor and you both vote, you cancel each other out. It's 1-1.

But if you persuade your neighbor your way, and don't vote yourself, it's 1-0 your way.

Persuading is more powerful than voting.

Now consider if you persuade two people, or a thousand, or a million.

If you mark up two million phony ballots and manage to get them counted you'll be even more effective.

And there's no risk they'll change their minds after you've 'persuaded' them.

Superdad said...

Also, high turn out does not always favor dems. In fact, if you look the latest polls here in 'Scony you will see that the percentage of the population identifying as conservative is at an all time high - thus, in the election high turn out favors the Reps.

MInTheGap said...

An informed electorate is a great thing, and I think that anyone that's spent any time getting informed on the issues, who is running, etc. is not going to have a problem remembering what day it is-- whether they're a student or in the professional world.

The idea that we should get a whole bunch of people that aren't informed, put them in a bus, send them to the polls for them to vote should be akin to vote tampering in my book.

Certainly, we should all have the right to vote, but it'd be akin to asking me to call in to Dancing with the Stars-- I might just vote for Bristol Palin regardless if she deserves it, simply because I have heard the name. Is that how you want the winner chosen?

Then why have our elected officials chosen that way?

Lawler Walken said...

What if they're not entitled to vote, U.S. citizens, properly registered, etc.? Are professors allowed to inquire about immigration status or is that some kind of infraction? Professors may be encouraging students to do something which would be illegal for them to do and can't find out if it would be without stumbling over some other tripwire. Nobody listens to Professors on this kind of stuff anyway.

Freeman Hunt said...

No, encourage them to be informed. Voting grows out of that, not the other way around.

Original Mike said...

Dilbert: remember last week on election day you said that since we disagreed on the issues and our votes would just cancel each others out, we should both just stay home?
Dogbert: Yep.
Dilbert: Well, as it turns out -- DOGS CAN'T VOTE!!!
Dogbert: Well, not directly ...

Kirk Parker said...

I entirely disagree, not merely with the suggestion to urge voting in a non-partisan manner, but with the entire notion of "voting as a civic duty". Seriously, if you aren't going to pay attention to the issues and the deeper principles (perhaps) behind them, if you're the person whose ballot is going to be primarily influenced by soundbites, etc, then you really have a civic duty not to cast such an ill-informed vote.

Scott M said...

Well, we could always go full-metal Heinlein and institute military service before gaining the right to vote.

Meade said...

MadisonMan said...
"It just showed up in my in-box, from Lori Berquam."

You might think the Dean of Students would have every student's email address and could more effectively convey the memo herself. Having once been young myself, I'm pretty sure students resent being talked down to. So my advice to Dean Berquam: Enlist the humor of Jack Parr's famous admonition:

“Don’t vote—it only encourages them.”

yashu said...

I too get university emails exhorting me to "Exercise Your Voice"; this bit made me laugh, for its symbolic value:

UC Berkeley Vote Coalition volunteers, wearing blue "I vote" t-shirts, are hard to miss on campus. They've been doing an excellent job of giving students many opportunities to register to vote on and around campus. You can register to vote with the non-partisan ASUC-sponsored Vote Coalition on Sproul and other locations on campus.

LOL, the non-partisan Vote Coalition that wears BLUE.

former law student said...

LOL, the non-partisan Vote Coalition that wears BLUE.

Red is the color of Cal's archrival, Snodfart ("The Cardinal"). No way could they wear the enemy's color and be persuasive. Cal is Blue and Gold.

yashu said...

FLS-- yeah, I know. (Heh at "Snodfart"-- hadn't heard that one. Alas, I have a woeful lack of school spirit.) Still amuses me, though. (Couldn't they have tried, say, Red White & Blue?)

Patrick said...

Your students are smart enough to get into UW Law. Presumably, they are smart enough to decide for themselves whether voting is worth their time. They are adults for crying out loud.

Eric said...

It be nice to have our schools inculcate the importance of voting.

Schools are supposed to be teaching information, not values. It's a pretty short step from here to DC high school kids being given extra credit for attending anti-war rallies.

Shanna said...

I don't know that we need to encourage people to vote who don't care enough about it to find out when an election is on their own. You can't expect those people to be making well informed decisions.

If you are just worried that an 18 year old might forget the exact date, a sign in the hall is more than enough. Which I'm sure somebody on campus who does care has probably already provided.

Trooper York said...

I would prefer that college profesors spend their time teaching but it wasn't like that many years ago when I was in college and I bet it is even worse now.

Hagar said...

Meade,

I believe that was an old lady in New Hampshire who said she never voted in primaries, "because it just encorages them!" - not Jack Paar.

Hagar said...

Though Jack Paar might have been the one who put it on the air.

Almost Ali said...

"My answer is no... I don't take their time to tell them to brush their teeth or look after their children either." - Althouse

Agree, agree, agree.

I bet we'd find a very different opinion over at the liberal arts department. Where the Constitution is little more than a blank canvass.

Trooper York said...

Shouldn't professors spend their time sewing patches on the elbows of their cordoruy jackets and molesting their students.

That's traditional after all.

froggyprager said...

I am not sure if there is much point in telling college students to vote but I would hope that most professors should, depending on the subjects they teach, tie the course material with current events.

If you teach about issues that have come up recently in the campaigns, to bring that debate into the classroom seems appropriate and remind them of the election. This would get students engaged in the issues in a more thougthful way.

AST said...

Keep it nonpartisan - wink wink, nudge nudge

showbiz111 said...

Non partisan to liberal educational institutions means supporting liberals and opposing conservatives. Besides, if the great number of professors are liberal does anyone have any illusions that they would not pressure their charges for voting the 'progressive' 'enlightened' democrat way? The next step for that school to take would be the one reported in the New York papers today where teachers were buying ice creams for their teenage charges who went with their teachers to vote. I believe there must be some election laws and/or educational laws being broken by that misbehavior.
I'm against the school's use of the professoriate to harass students into voting. If students are so disinterested in voting that they don't know when the election is, I don't want their uninformed votes cancelling out our informed ones.

AJ Lynch said...

Mad Man is not voting for the Republican? I am shocked! Heh.

Revenant said...

I would say no.

Jim B said...

garage -

Why are Republican groups spending millions of dollars trying to get Republicans out to vote?

To counter the millions that the unions and DNC (do I repeat myself?) are spending as well as all the free GOTV provided by Leftist professors, the vast majority of all media outlets, and encouragement of people like you who think that you should vote according to the stereotype of your particular identity group regardless of your personal beliefs and how much it may be directly contrary to your self-interest.

Thanks for playing. Any other stupid questions or are you done now?

garage mahal said...

Thanks for playing. Any other stupid questions or are you done now?

Not quite done, no.

Conservative voters, like you, don't need to be reminded to vote by anybody.

Conservative voters, like you, are already informed of the issues.

So why then, do conservatives need to be bombarded with campaign ads costing millions of dollars informing them of the issues and reminding them to get out and vote?

Why did a Republican 527 try and buy airtime to tell hispanics NOT to vote?

Hagar said...

But I think it was on the 6 o'clock news and after Paar's time anyway.

And Garage, I think this is getting there where you really need to seek professional help.

FloridaSteve said...

Is this necessary to urge adults who are at the University level to vote? Are they that out of touch?

KS said...

I don't think so. I live in California, and I've worked with people who vote on propositions without studying them. People who care will vote without their professors urging them to do so.

AST said...

Ann, how do you feel about telling them to "Man up!"?

former law student said...

No, garage is quite right. "Latinos for Reform" is running this ad (in Spanish) urging latinos not to vote this November.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKFAiMbm1Fc

Both the English and Spanish versions are in the DZapaMedia youtube channel

Cedarford said...

Scott M said...
"I don't take their time to tell them to brush their teeth or look after their children either."

Correct, but you're not teaching a class on hygiene. Law involves civics, does it not?

=======================
It also involves public health safety laws related to hygiene, and the whole family court system and body of law exists for those who fail at family relationships or do not look after their kids properly.

SpinningStar said...

NO!

I was taking some grad courses at a local university for fun. It stopped being fun when the profs started talking politics prior to the 2004 election.

It wasn't why I was taking classes and it wasn't related to the class. I "dropped" out, so the school lost additional revenue since I always registered late to make sure that the younger students got the classes they needed.

Beldar said...

By the time one is a law student, if one does not already know the value of the franchise, it's probably too damn late to teach them that or anything else. So I would say no, it's not appropriate for a law school professor.

High school civics teacher with some 18-year-old students, that's okay; that might be genuinely educational.

But your colleagues aren't genuinely interested in educating, Prof. Althouse. Disclaimers aside, GOTV efforts are inherently partisan. If you don't see how, you're the player at the poker table wondering who the "mark" is. Compare, say, GOTV efforts being broadcast by M-TV with GOTV efforts among veterans' groups. If you can't figure out which party supports one but isn't that thrilled about the other, you're just not paying attention.

Beldar said...

Ack. Sloppy writing on my part just then. The "you" in the last couple of sentences is a rhetorical, hypothetical "you" that I should have instead referenced as "someone." In contrast to the prior sentence when I addressed Prof. Althouse directly by name and imputed partisan motives to her colleagues who are suggesting the reminders, after that I wasn't referring to Prof. Althouse as "you." Mea culpa, I hope I didn't give unintended offense, and the fault if I did is entirely mine.

MadisonMan said...

Mad Man is not voting for the Republican? I am shocked! Heh.

Well I am voting for Chad Lee, who is running against Tammy.

She's been there 12 years. High time she got the boot. I'll say the same thing about Paul Ryan, even though my Mom is really good friends with his grandmother.

Trooper York said...

Come on Madison Man you expect me to believe that you are voting for Chad when he got W elected when he was hanging around in Florida.

Seriously?

MadisonMan said...

Why would anyone vote for Tammy Baldwin?

One of my oldest oldest friends -- since age 4 -- loves that Tammy is my Rep, but this friend is a lesbian. I just don't see why someone should vote for her -- or for anyone who's been in the House for the past decade. Are you better off now than you were 10 years ago? Is the country? Why should you return Congresscritters to office if the answer is No?

Congress has horrible approval ratings. I know that most people blame other people's Representatives, but I think my own Representative is partly to blame as well. Someone new can't possibly do worse.

Trooper York said...

I don't know. I thought all you liberal guys think all the Baldwins are swell. I even had one hipster dofus try to tell me that her brother Alec Baldwin is a comic genuis.

Seriously?

Mike Smith said...

No!

If you aren't motivated to study the issues and vote on your own, you should not be voting.

MadisonMan said...

Yes! Vote out Incumbents!

Of course, if Baldwin loses, expect nothing to be done in the Dept of Womyn's Studies on campus for at least a fortnight. Black Crepe drapery will sell out at Jo-Ann's Fabrics.

Trooper York said...

If Mort were awake he would say that you talking about Black Creeps is racist.

MadisonMan said...

Usually, the Republican Party candidate against Baldwin is just all sorts of weird. Mr. Lee is okay, even if he does hail from Mt. Horrible.

Professor Kim said...

I put election day on my syllabi. Obviously, I don't talk about how they should vote, and I don't share information about my own political inclinations.

John Lynch said...

College students are probably the worst voters possible.

They aren't part of the community, tend to be hyper-partisan, and they leave before having to pay the price for their votes.

former law student said...

College students are probably the worst voters possible.

They aren't part of the community, tend to be hyper-partisan, and they leave before having to pay the price for their votes.


Just like seniors in a retirement home. They don't really participate in the community, they tend to jealously guard their privileges (remember the "notch baby" protests?), and they tend to die before having to pay the price for their votes.

former law student said...

By the time one is a law student, if one does not already know the value of the franchise, it's probably too damn late to teach them that or anything else.

So, both Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina are pig-ignorant, because neither voted regularly until well over 40.

Disclaimers aside, GOTV efforts are inherently partisan...

If you can't figure out which party supports one but isn't that thrilled about the other, you're just not paying attention.


Which party is more likely to think that the state of Wisconsin
(A) needs more lawyers, and
(B) should tax the citizenry to provide them?

The prof should be praying for the Democrats to win.

ken in sc said...

Scott M. is right, Only veterans should be able to vote. See 'Staship Troopers'.

Sixty Grit said...

In Starship Troopers Heinlein wrote that only an honorably discharged veteran could be a citizen. It had far more to it than mere voting.

And, once you served you were always subject to being recalled to active duty - apparently there was no upper age limit as long as the planet was at war.

For "bugs" substitute "muslims" and you will be up to date.

Mark said...

@ Professor Kim "I put election day on my syllabi. Obviously, I don't talk about how they should vote, and I don't share information about my own political inclinations."

That's nice.

The readers of this blog (if there are any remaining after so many comments) might be interested in knowing why. It's not obvious why you would put it in all of your many syllabi -- that's the very issue under discussion in the previous 160, or so postings!

Chase said...

Seriously, people! Exercise some brain cells here!

To all here saying "no", then please direct Ann to also avoid any kind of well-wishing to her students as well.

After all, commanding her students to "have a nice day" is outside the "purview" of Ann's classes "purposes", are they not?

You people need to get a life.

Sheeesh!

The Crack Emcee said...

"Starship Troopers" was cool.

I vote "yea" with Scott M - it's a university and civics is (an expected?) part of the curriculum. As MadisonMan said, it doesn't take much, and doesn't involve compromising anything. Fuck the hippie reflex.

It's a little depressing to see how fast many of you lept to playing politics with a duty, because to reference that duty is being framed (by friend and foe alike) as a Democrat ploy. I think checking your cynicism - in the face of theirs - is the only way we get closer to what we want to be again as a nation.

Mark Daniels said...

I don't think there's a should or shouldn't here. But I don't think it's inappropriate in a course training lawyers that civic responsibility should be underscored. As an educator of future law professionals, it might be good to remind these students of the importance to the law of who gets elected.

kentuckyliz said...

On Thursday, August 26, I sponsored a campus event to celebrate the 90th anniversary of women getting the right to vote.

In the high traffic area, I had a nonpartisan voter registration drive, and voter rights & responsibilities brochures published by the state's board of elections. I had my lappie hooked up in case a student wanted to check to see if he/she had registered, changed an address and/or party, etc. on the state's online voter information center.

I left the extra forms in the atrium info racks afterwards, right through the deadline to register to vote in the general election (one month before the election).

College professors should not treat the lectern like the pulpit. Students resent it and get mad because that's not what they're spending their tuition on. Shut up and teach me this subject, foo.

WV reween
Use it in a sentence, please:
Once students graduate college and have to get off the government financial aid tit and become self-supporting, Life reweens the child.

rsb said...

No.

Loren said...

I hate it when people didn't read Heinlein accurately. Starship Troopers did not give the vote solely to military veterans, it gave it to people who had performed some level of public service. An example of a blind, para-palegic could gain his franchise by counting the fuzz on woolly worms for some years was given. People who worked on Terra-forming Venus, if they survived, would have the franchise.

Largo said...

Voting is a civic duty?

Seeing (by José Saramago) is a story set in the same country featured in Blindness and begins with a parliamentary election in which the majority of the populace casts blank ballots. The story revolves around the struggles of the government and its various members as they try to simultaneously understand and destroy the amorphous non-movement of blank-voters.