November 1, 2018
Dear UT Community,
During the past two weeks, UT students, faculty, staff and members of the Austin community have lined up in the PCL and the FAC to vote early in the 2018 midterm elections. It has been inspiring to walk through our campus and see the passion that so many have demonstrated for the candidates and causes that matter deeply to them.
In recent weeks, we have heard a wide range of voices at UT — including surrogates for City Council and legislative candidates, speakers from across the political spectrum and advocates for local and national initiatives. The dialogue has been fraught at times, but it has been productive and necessary.
Early voting ends tomorrow, and next week on November 6, people throughout the nation will have the opportunity to exercise their civic duty to vote. I encourage you to do so. For some, it will be the first election in which you ever vote. For others, it will be the continuation of your longstanding participation. For all, it is essential that we conduct ourselves with openness and respect in these coming days.
The decisions you make in the ballot box are personal. The issues we vote on are significant, and sometimes they can be divisive. But in the process of expressing ourselves, we can’t lose sight of who we are as a university — a community of thousands, each from different places with different beliefs, unified by the shared goal of learning and discovering. We don’t have to agree with one another, but it is important to respect one another. Respect is the foundation of our academic and civic lives. It is the foundation of a thriving democracy.
So, as Election Day approaches, if you hear an idea expressed that you disagree with or see a sign for a candidate whom you don’t support, please remember that they are a reflection of the democratic process. They represent a point of view. And your vote represents yours. Your vote is your voice.
Gregory L. Fenves