In response to further student inquiries, Carol Wood, the assistant vice president for public affairs at UVa, wrote: "As you know, the interest among young people across the nation -- regardless of their party -- was unprecedented during the recent presidential campaign. Our own students here at the University were equally as engaged and they have expressed a desire to participate in some way in Inauguration Day. Given the number of important issues facing our country and the world, students told us they wanted to hear live -- with their friends -- what President-elect Obama would have to say in his Inaugural address."
Wood celebrates the 2008 election and the youth participation in it although youth voter turnout was not as high as anticipated. Oddly, she highlights the "unprecedented" participation of young people in this election, while ignoring the fact that the main way students participated was through technology -- the same technology which will make Barack Obama's Inauguration Day speech available to students 24 hours a day.
From my experience of four years of college and almost three years of law school at UVa, I do not recall classes ever being suspended for a planned political event. For example, despite student petitions, classes carried on as normal during Election Day last year.
On Jan. 20, I plan to attend the classes for which I am paying, regardless of how college administrators weigh my interest in classes against my interest in hearing Barack Obama's speech live. I also plan to watch some of the Inauguration Day activities, but I will do so on my own time.