Election Day has passed, and, as predicted, we are still awaiting the outcome while states continue to count ballots.
The outcome of this election could have a profound impact on our nation, our local communities, and our campuses. The next days and weeks may be challenging for all of us. They have the potential to be especially difficult for students and colleagues of color, as the higher education community grapples with what a potential Trump second term could mean for the movement for Black lives and for the rights of international students and faculty. I urge my fellow AAUP members to stand in allyship with these members of our campus communities.
I have never seen the kind of voter engagement and get-out-the-vote efforts that we saw in this election. Even in the midst of a highly infectious and deadly global pandemic, we found creative ways to organize and to work collectively. I am so appreciative, in particular, of the voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote efforts targeting younger and first-time voters that took place at colleges and universities all over the country. Your efforts resulted in massive early voting and record high turnout.
In the short term, it is essential that we ensure that vote counting continues. The democratic process must be allowed to play itself out and all states must be allowed to finish their vote counts. We need to call out and resist the president and his surrogates when they make false claims of voter fraud or falsely declare victory.
In the longer term, regardless of the outcome of the election, we must channel our engagement into real activism on our campuses and in our states as we continue to struggle with the impact of COVID-19 and to push back on the decades-long public disinvestment in higher education. We must continue to stand firm for academic freedom and for the role of science and expertise in shaping public policy—in truly serving the common good. We must continue to fight for economic security for all those who teach and research in higher education, and for all campus employees. We must continue to fight to ensure a more socially just society and a more socially just academy.
Thank you for your hard work—for voting, for volunteering, for organizing. For continuing to demand the best of our nation.
Irene Mulvey, AAUP President