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Instead of exercising their bodies, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Vulcans will be exercising their right to vote this coming election day.

On November 3, all UH Hilo student-athletes will be excused from practice to take time to place their votes. None of the 12 Vulcan teams will take to the fields or courts, but will instead make their way to polling locations and follow the national and local elections throughout the day.

This decision was proposed by the UH Hilo Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and approved by Vulcan athletic director Patrick Guillen.

“I wholeheartedly support the UH Hilo SAAC recommendation to suspend all athletic related activity on Tuesday, November 3,” Guillen said. “I know it represents the voice of our student-athletes who through this motion have expressed their desire to increase their civic engagement to create positive change at the local, state and federal levels.”

The Vulcans are not alone. The NCAA passed a measure in September that made it mandatory for Division I schools to give student-athletes the day off from practices and countable athletic related activities for every election day going forward. The Vulcan SAAC group voted to follow the Division I model.

“I am extremely proud of SAAC for taking initiative to cancel CARA hours (Countable Athletic Related Activity) for all sports on election day,” said SAAC advisor and UH Hilo men’s basketball coach Jamison Montgomery. “They were all so engaged in the importance of voting and letting your voice be heard, especially as college students. I am looking forward to working more with these student-athletes, and helping them make a positive impact on our campus and in our community.”

—From UH Hilo Athletics