public statements

AAUP-Purdue sides with the Purdue University Senate regarding eliminating student charges for compliant IDs

Submitted by AAUP Purdue on Mon, 09/16/2019 – 14:44

Contact: Alice Pawley, chapter secretary/treasurer, [email protected] (765) 201-0751


AAUP-Purdue sides with the Purdue University Senate regarding eliminating student charges for compliant IDs

The Purdue chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP-Purdue) stands in support of Purdue University Senate Resolution 19-04, which was passed overwhelmingly on September 9, 2019. This resolution requested the Purdue administration offer at no charge, new identification cards that are compliant with the new interpretation of Indiana’s voter identification law, where an expiration date must not just be included but printed on the card itself.  While this summer, Purdue had agreed to redesign its identification cards to include a printed expiration date, students who are eligible voters would be required to pay $10 for a voter-compliant ID card. We find the imposition of a fee on students seeking an ID allowing them to vote to be depressive, unnecessary, undermining of the stated goals of the program, and inimical to the ethos and mission of the university.  

A fee will have a depressive effect on student voting. According to the Profile of Freshmen at 4-Year Colleges in 2017 published in the Chronicle in August 2019, voting in a local, state or national election is the top activity that students estimate they have “a very good chance of doing” in college (62.9%) trampling even participating in student clubs/groups (51.2%). The university should be encouraging students to exercise their civil rights, and fulfill their civic obligation, by voting.  A fee accomplishes the opposite.

A fee is unnecessary.  It will not cost the university $10 to process and produce a new ID card with an expiration date.  No new equipment nor personnel will be required. Whether it collected $4,000 or $40,000 or $400,000 from this replacement ID program, the university would be hard-pressed to show that the $10 fee would not represent a large profit margin.

Profiting from the imposition of a fee related to a citizen’s vote is reminiscent of a poll tax.  Such profit-making is inimical to the mission of our university and to the point of the ID replacement program. It sends the wrong message to our students and our community, and puts Purdue’s reputation at risk.  It is wrong and it is harmful.

Depressing students’ voting is inimical to the mission of our university.  As President Daniels has recently and repeatedly emphasized, Purdue University should be ensuring that students are capable of reaching informed conclusions through good-citizenship training and an education that emphasizes civic responsibilities such as voting.  An added fee both sends the wrong message, and undermines the university’s commitment to encouraging its students to vote.

This is a matter that reflects on, implicates, and should involve faculty and faculty representation.What makes this an AAUP matter is the wholesale dismissal of the formal statement by the Purdue University Senate–within 24 hours and through the press rather than through direct dialogue with the Senate.  AAUP-Purdue’s mission includes advancing faculty governance, and the University Senate is the most formal representative body by which faculty governance occurs at Purdue. AAUP-Purdue objects to the Purdue administration’s casual treatment of the Senate’s resolution, in contradiction to our shared commitment to commonly held standards of faculty governance.  

AAUP-Purdue stands with the Senate in its resolve, and demands the administration change its position on charging students for access to a compliant identification card.  Purdue is failing to meet students’ civic needs by providing them with an ID that is non-compliant for voting.  Given its position as a Land Grant institution, its reputation in the state and worldwide, its financial health, its support of democratic institutions, and its care for students’ civic literacy, we expect Purdue to do better. 

AAUP-Purdue concludes that it better honors the spirit of Purdue’s Giant Leaps for Purdue to provide each eligible student with a compliant Purdue identification card, free of charge, so that they may discharge their civic responsibility unencumbered.


The Purdue Chapter of the American Association of University Professors

(Approved by the majority of chapter members.)


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