In response to a formal request from Academic Council Chair Lee Bush, Elon University President Connie Book acknowledged concerns expressed by members of the Elon community regarding the U.S. Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who is on the Elon Board of Trustees.
“Academic Council members had received several concerns from faculty surrounding recent USPS reforms and their potential impact on mail-in voting,” Bush said. “We thought it was important to give President Book and the Board of Trustees an opportunity to respond to those concerns. I reached out to President Book and, in communication with the Board chair, she responded to Academic Council and was open to us sharing that response with our faculty constituents.”
Book said the board is aware of these concerns and will continue to listen to the community.
As the 75th postmaster general, DeJoy has overseen both budget cuts and temporary slowdowns in postal operations, in addition to the reorganization of leadership and the removal of mailboxes and mail sorting machines.
“The board fully supports our community’s belief that a free, fair and impartial election process is essential and forms the foundation of American democracy,” Book said. “Mr. DeJoy has said that he shares those values, and the board looks forward to hearing his upcoming testimony in Washington.”
DeJoy, who has served as a trustee since 2007, created an endowment along with his wife, Aldona Wos, for four full Odyssey scholarships that will grow into a total of 12 scholarships.
“He has consistently shown that he cares deeply about Elon students and shares our community’s passion for education and opportunity,” Book said.
Book hopes that as national issues continue to be discussed and community members keep DeJoy’s positive contributions to the Elon community in mind.
Elon University has advocated for voting in recent election cycles and is currently promoting the Elon Votes campaign.
Book said the mail room has not experienced slow service in recent weeks and that students preparing to send in absentee ballots in the general election should not face any issues.
“We have contacted our regional USPS distribution centers and found no mail delivery delays other than the slow down of priority and express mail that was announced by the USPS in April due to the pandemic,” Book said.
In addition, there are no delays currently reported regarding the delivery speed of medications by Elon’s health insurance pharmaceutical provider.
“We will continue to monitor mail pickup and delivery to ensure timely handling of absentee ballots and we will encourage students who vote by mail to do so early,” Book said.
The Alamance County Board of Elections has been contacted to check on its capacity to handle this year’s election.
“There is a need for additional poll workers and working with staff council we made it possible for the two paid days provided to employees for volunteering to be used to work at the polls if they choose,” Book said.
Classes will not be held on election day and staff members have the opportunity to choose that day to take as their fall break holiday.
“These initiatives demonstrate Elon’s commitment to educating our students and encouraging all members of our community to participate in this fundamental process in our democracy,” Book said.