Haas email aims to mobilizing campus vote
In a campus-wide email sent on Oct. 15, Grand Valley State University President Thomas J. Haas detailed the importance of student’s role in the upcoming Nov. 6 election.
“November 6 – Election Day across the nation – will soon be here,” Haas began the email. “I encourage all members of the Grand Valley community to vote. This most fundamental of our rights is, to me, a sacred undertaking. In too many places around the globe, citizens seeking to vote confront intimidation, danger or other obstacles crafted to limit participation.
We should never take for granted the free and safe exercise of our right to vote.”
Haas, like the presidential candidates, is trying to “get out the vote” this election to the younger population of voters, who he said tend to participate in elections less than the older voters. His message to the GVSU community included a link to Michigan’s absentee voter application and a Detroit Free Press report detailing information about each of the proposals that will be included on the November ballot.
“I really hope that our citizens here in the state do their own reading and research on the different proposals,” Haas said. “This is quite unique because a couple of years ago there was one question about whether or not we needed a constitutional convention and the citizens said ‘no.’ Now we have an array of proposals that are out there to possibly change the constitution, and from that I believe people need to do a little reading their own research and come to their own conclusions.”
Voting, he said, is not only a right, but also a responsibility as an American – a constitutional privilege, but also a constitutional responsibility.
“(This vote) is a real privilege that we need to exercise because we as a people in our constitution clearly states that we have the responsibility for our nation and this is the way we exercise it,” he said.
Haas said the misconception that one vote doesn’t matter is lost in the final analysis. The proof can be summed up, he said, by history and, appropriately, a baseball metaphor.
“That our voices are heard because when you come down to it it’s kind of like a baseball game, there’s a lot of strikes and a lot of balls to be thrown and you would think that it’s just the last strike in a game that could make a difference and it really does,” Haas said. “I think that type of metaphor holds with voting too. There are a lot of votes out there but when you take the individual vote and combine it with the collective vote you have then the voice of the people and the direction we want to go as a nation.”