MC president responds

I am proud of and fully support our effort to register students and employees to vote. It is something we do every year, and we will continue to do so every year I am president at Marietta College.

Despite what Carol Pabst’s letter to the editor (Oct. 25, 2019) said about the College’s recent voter registration drive, we do not tell – or ask – anyone who registers how to vote. We do, however, provide them with information on all the races and issues they will see on the ballot so they can make educated decisions.

Marietta College’s Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) organizes the voter registration drive and those employees work directly with the local board of elections to make sure they follow all rules. Students who register can choose to register to vote locally with their current physical address or we will help them register to vote absentee at their family home address.

The election outreach work that is happening now on campus through OCE is part of a national program through the Campus Election Engagement Project in the run up to the 2020 Presidential Election. If students want to vote in primaries and be sure they are able to vote in the general election, getting them registered now is the way to make sure they can do that.

Simply put, we want them to vote and also have the ability to vote. Who they choose to vote for or if they decide to support or not a specific levy is their decision entirely. To infer that Marietta College’s students are not part of this amazing community is an inaccurate and uninformed representation of reality. Our students contribute a tremendous amount of support to this community.

Our students provide thousands of volunteer hours to the Marietta area each year. Our student-athletes bring the community together to cheer on the Pioneers to a victory. Our aspiring singers and musicians perform in a variety of concerts that are free and open to the public. A recent economic impact study conducted by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs revealed that Marietta College had a $55 million overall economic impact and a $33.3 million direct impact on Washington County and Wood County during the 2017 fiscal year. Multiply that by the four years that each student lives in this community – and makes a difference in this community – and we believe they should have the option to vote in this community.

Over the course of four years, our students live in the Marietta area for 10 of the 12 months each year as they complete their undergraduate education. Many choose to remain in Marietta to begin building their families and their professional lives. There is no doubt that they deserve the right to have a voice in any election that affects their community. It is their civic duty.

Encouraging them to vote helps our students establish habits and values that will impact them for the rest of their lives.

I personally support the levy because I feel its passage will be a game changer for our community. Our students? Our employees? It is their choice. That’s why we encourage them to get out and vote.

Bill Ruud


Marietta College


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