University of Michigan instructors call for campus-wide COVID-19 vaccine mandate

ANN ARBOR, MI – Hundreds of faculties at the University of Michigan have signed a petition calling for a campus-wide COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The current vaccination plan of the university is “nonsensical”.

The petition, which was launched on May 5 and had 869 signatures as of Saturday lunchtime, says UM is lagging behind more than 200 other institutions, including 79 public institutions that require students to be vaccinated.

If the university does not implement a campus-wide vaccine mandate, the petition calls for instructors – including professors, faculty, postgraduate lecturers, and others hired by the university to provide instruction – to oppose face-to-face tuition and other forms of face-to-face engagement with students.

The proposed vaccination requirement would go into effect on the first day of class in the fall semester or when the FDA fully approves at least one vaccine, the petition says. The petition also asks the university to give full financial support to each school to test and repair ventilation systems in their classrooms to ensure safe and adequate ventilation for teaching.

“Research has shown that universities that have stayed open have contributed significantly to community expansion beyond campus and have given up duty to their cities and the people who live there,” the petition reads. “Vaccines also allow students and faculty on campus to more fully resume the personal interactions that are critical to academic success. We call for this mandate to come into effect now to give students, their families and our staff sufficient time to make plans for a vaccination before the fall semester begins. “

In April, members of the UM Senate Assembly passed a resolution in support of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, faculties and staff. A few days later, UM announced that it would require vaccination against COVID-19 for students living in UM dormitories and other university accommodation. About 31%, or about 12,100 students live in university, affiliated or operated dormitories. For the autumn semester 2021, an occupancy rate of around 80% is expected.

COVID-19 vaccination required for University of Michigan students living on campus in the fall

This plan is “nonsensical”, according to the petition, as students in private homes or students who commute are likely to spread the virus.

Andrew Thompson, a lecturer at UM Stamps School of Art and Design, was one of the first to sign the petition. It’s about the vaccine, but the petition is also about the university doing its due diligence and being transparent, Thompson said.

“There are still a lot of unknowns about how the virus is morphing and changing. The petition is about getting the university to do something proactive and showing us evidence that it is doing something other than thumbs up to push and hope enough people will be vaccinated. ” Thompson said.

The university announced on Friday, May 8, that faculties and staff who worked remotely would gradually return to more on-site work in the coming months as directed by their unit heads. Some instructors; However, the petition states that courses have been switched from virtual or hybrid formats to personal formats and encouraged others to teach in person or take medical leave.

The petition has not yet been presented to the heads of the university, said UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. The university is confident that a sufficiently high percentage of the UM community will be vaccinated when the fall semester starts on Aug. 30, Fitzgerald said.

“Encouragement can be more effective than a mandate to achieve the goal of maximizing vaccination against COVID-19 in the coming months,” he said.

Students don’t have to live on campus and have other options when protesting UM’s compulsory vaccination, Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald noted that Michigan law is considering laws that would prohibit public universities from requiring vaccination as a requirement for enrolling or attending in-person classes. The university rejects the measure, said Fitzgerald, but must respect the legislative process as it works.

Political opposition to vaccine mandates and passports continues to grow in Michigan

In an email to the Senate Assembly, Faculty’s Senate Chairman Allen Liu also discussed the legislation, saying that state legislation is currently working on the college budget for fiscal year 2022.

“Bills issued by the committee in both the House and Senate include a driver who would prevent universities from receiving government assistance if vaccinations are required as a requirement for enrollment or in-person tuition,” said Liu. “Until these legislative issues are resolved, introducing a vaccine requirement would likely have wider ramifications for all members of the community. As voters, we have the opportunity to contact our lawmakers to express our concerns on this issue. “

UM continues to oversee Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to vaccinate 70% of Michigandans aged 16 and over, and the university will also monitor conditions over the summer and adjust as needed, Fitzgerald said.

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