Dear students, faculty and staff members,
A few weeks ago, I took advantage, as many of you did, of early voting. As I waited in line, I watched as others left the polling place with looks of satisfaction after they had employed the most powerful tool a democracy provides – a ballot.
I didn’t see Republican or Democratic faces emerge from the voting booths, but American faces. As I waited, I didn’t know the party affiliation of the person to my left or to my right. I only knew they were there for the same reason I was, to help shape our local, state and national governments.
Democracy can be beautiful. It can, at times, also be a protracted process, and necessarily so. Like you, I went to bed Tuesday night not knowing the outcome of the presidential election. And, also like you and everyone else, I awoke to the same reality.
It may be a few days before we know the election’s results as votes continue to be tallied in key states. Counting every vote is important and essential. The voice of every American who voted must be heard.
So, now is a time for patience. As historian Michael Beschloss told PBS during its election night coverage, “We are not sticking a piece of bread into a toaster that’s supposed to pop it up within 60 seconds. We’re having a presidential election. We have to be patient. We have to count all the votes, however long it takes.”
This has been a long, trying year, and I know that patience is occasionally difficult to find, while apprehension is in ready supply.
As always, we are here to assist you. The University has a number of resources available and informational events planned to help counter any anxiety and impatience you may be feeling right now and in the coming days. You can visit our dedicated Election 2020 Resources website for more, but I would like to highlight a few.
- Student leaders will discuss how campus organizations can help move our community forward in the election’s wake during a panel discussion this afternoon.
- University experts will put the election into historical, political and economic context during a virtual dialogue for students, faculty and staff members this evening.
- Faculty and staff members are available to talk to students about their post-election anxieties, as are staff members of the University’s Counseling and Testing Center.
Other post-election activities are being planned as well, so check the election resources website frequently, look for announcements on digital signs across campus, and monitor official social media accounts.
Throughout our nation’s history, Americans have waited days – and sometimes weeks and months – before they knew the outcome of elections. As any of our researchers can tell you, patience is important in any experiment – and our great American experiment deserves all the patience we can muster.
Stay safe, thank you, and Geaux Cajuns!
Dr. Joseph Savoie