October 27, 2020
To: All Students
From: Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject: Upcoming Elections
Date: October 27, 2020
With Election Day approaching on November 3, I am writing to share information about related events and programming for members of our campus community. I also want to urge eligible students to exercise their right to vote; the University encourages and celebrates active participation in our democracy and the hand we all have in shaping our country’s future. Information on voting resources can be found in this October 5 message. For students who live on or near campus and are interested in voting early, you can do so at nearby Ray Elementary and Fiske Elementary through November 2.
Elections are the bedrock of a functioning democracy. The outpouring of Americans who already have cast ballots has been inspiring, and we have every confidence that these votes will be tallied fairly and accurately. But because of the unique circumstances under which the election is occurring amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, that count may take time. We should be prepared that Election Night could become Election Week, as some states tally an unusually large number of mail-in ballots. I urge the entire campus community to greet this process with patience.
The issues presented by the election will be addressed over the next several weeks in a rich range of University programs offered from a wide variety of schools and units on campus. I encourage you to explore and engage as your interest and energy allows. You can find a listing of these programs and how you can be involved here.
Some of you may decide to participate in political activities or community events in the city of Chicago. If you do so, please continue to adhere to the UChicago Health Pact to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. This includes wearing a mask at all times, maintaining at least 6 feet of social distancing and avoiding large crowds.
At this hectic time which coincides with midterms for many of you, I also want to take this opportunity to remind you of the services and programs available to support your student experience at the University of Chicago. As always, Campus and Student Life is offering medical and mental health support, wellbeing and fitness programs, emergency and crisis resources, and programs to help you form stronger connections with your peers and explore your interests outside of the classroom. In addition to the resources listed below, please visit CSL’s website for a comprehensive list of our academic year offerings.
- Mental Health Support and Resources: UChicago Student Wellness offers virtual sessions with counselors, drop-in sessions via the Let’s Talk program, and weekly workshops to help with managing stress, among other resources. Students can also call 773.702.3625 to speak with a clinician by phone, 24/7, to share concerns and determine next steps for support.
- Dean-on-Call: The Dean-on-Call is a University administrator who is on call 24/7 and can inform, comfort, and assist students. They can be reached by calling the University of Chicago Police Department at 773.702.8181.
- Bias Education and Support Team (BEST): Students affected by bias can seek emotional and administrative support through the Bias Education and Support Team (BEST). BEST members will ensure that reported bias incidents are properly recorded and explore options for informal resolution in collaboration with the student(s).
Whatever the outcome of the 2020 election, I am confident in our students’ ability and desire to respect each other’s differences and maintain a campus community where people from all backgrounds can participate in the free and open exchange of ideas and perspectives.