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Maximum Flexibility on Nov. 3

10/29/2020

Dear members of the Saint Louis University campus community, 

If you chose to vote in person next Tuesday, I encourage you to plan in advance for when and where you will do so. That day promises to be a crowded one at our regional polls.  

In preparation for November 3, I am asking all SLU supervisors to initiate a conversation with their team members tomorrow with specifics about how they will be as flexible as possible in allowing our colleagues to vote. 

As every supervisor should know, in accordance with Missouri and Illinois laws, SLU has a University Voting Leave Policy. This policy provides employees with paid leave to vote. To repeat, voting leave is covered by the University. It does not deplete paid-time-off hours that employees have accrued. 

Unfortunately, this 8-year-old policy fails to capture the time in which we are living now with COVID-19 infections spiking across our region. Our policy also didn’t anticipate the prospect of unusually long lines of voters at polling locations. It is also important that we respect each other’s varying levels of anxiety and risk tolerance. All these factors must be taken into account this upcoming election day. 

When I say being flexible, I mean maximum accommodation, while still being mindful of the critical services that our students and patients count on. We can’t abandon the University’s most crucial responsibilities to students and patients without a unit-by-unit plan. 

SLUCare clinical managers should plan ahead to maintain smooth clinical flow and uninterrupted patient services while health care personnel are voting. Managers of student support offices should coordinate staff schedules so critical student services are covered while colleagues are voting. Facilities managers should coordinate with staff to ensure those who haven’t voted yet have ample opportunity to vote prior to reporting for their shifts or after their shifts. Of course, all employees are encouraged to stay in regular contact with their supervisors about voting delays that might impact their ability to report on time for their shift, or the need to leave early, depending on reports of voting delays. 

As I stated in my previous message on voter registration, our Jesuit identity compels us to recognize that “we are part of something greater.” Voting is a civic responsibility that affirms this. 

As a reminder, you can visit www.vote.org or www.vote411.org, two non-partisan websites, to check your registration status or confirm your polling location. Students, if you are registered to vote using your on-campus address, your polling place is the Simon Recreation Center between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. 

Thank you to the many of you who are volunteering your time and energy to help with the election. 

Stay safe, be well, and vote. 

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.
President