CANCELLED: UA students plan shuttle bus for early voters in the civil rights special election

Update: This event has been cancelled. According to Daniel Pugh, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, the shuttle service could be interpreted as “an impermissible use of funds that would possibly violate state law (Arkansas Code § 7-1-111(b)), which prohibits the expenditure of public funds to support or oppose a ballot measure.” The groups sponsoring this event are indeed openly campaigning in support of the Fayetteville civil rights ordinance, however, their press release (and this story) clearly stated that anyone was welcome to use the shuttle service to the courthouse. Click here to read Pugh’s opinion.

Event poster / Courtesy image

Several student groups at the University of Arkansas plan to help transport voters to the Washington County Courthouse next week for the final day of early voting in the Fayetteville civil rights special election.

A shuttle bus will run from noon until 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 8 on the north side of the Union bus depot on the University of Arkansas campus.

Voters are set to decide the fate of Fayetteville’s new Civil Rights Administration ordinance which prohibits business owners and landlords from unjustly firing or evicting someone for being gay and several other characteristics.

The ordinance was passed by the Fayetteville City Council on Aug. 20, but a group called Repeal 119 turned in enough signatures to put the new law on hold and force a Dec. 9 special election.

Rachel Spencer, external affairs and marketing chair for the Associated Student Government Graduate Student Congress, said the groups are working in support of the civil rights ordinance, and plan to hold a rally in front of Mullins Library before the shuttle service begins on Monday.

“While we are encouraging people to vote against repeal, anyone is welcome to attend the rally and use the shuttle,” said Spencer.

Spencer said the Graduate Student Congress recently passed a resolution (PDF) in support of the new law in hopes that the ordinance remains in place.

From the resolution:

University policy already prevents such discrimination on campus, [but] it does not extend any protections in the city of Fayetteville. Since very few graduate students live on campus, and many work off campus in the community at large, the University’s anti-discrimination policies fail to protect the vast majority of graduate students.

Spencer said the event is a partnership between the GSC, Students for Gender Equality, PRIDE, Young Democrats, Occam’s Razors, and the Keep Fayetteville Fair campaign.

“As students, we come to Fayetteville from all over and make this place our home,” said Andrea Love, president of Students for Gender Equality. “Every one of us deserve to feel protected and safe whether we are on campus or off. This is a great way for students to get involved in a local issue and make your voice heard. We are encouraging students to wear red on Monday for the rally and shuttle to show support.”

Early voting for the Dec. 9 civil rights special election began earlier this week at the Washington County Courthouse, 280 N. College Ave. in Fayetteville.

Residents who want to vote early can visit the County Clerk’s office on the third floor of the courthouse between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. through Friday and on Monday, Dec. 8.

Election day polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 9. Polling site information is available at

For more on the special election, see our guide to Understanding the Dec. 9 civil rights special election.