USM Faculty Senate calls on IHL Board to reverse decision on vaccine mandate

Spring classes begin at USM on Jan. 20, 2021.
Spring classes begin at USM on Jan. 20, 2021.(Source: WDAM)
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 3:52 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 11, 2021 at 3:58 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Earlier this month, The University of Southern Mississippi Faculty Senate called on the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning to reverse its decision on prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine requirements on public university campuses.

The senate voted and approved a resolution to COVID-19 vaccination mandates on Oct. 1.

In the resolution, the group said it strongly supports that USM requires all recommended doses of COVID-19 for faculty, staff and students as the best long-term solution in ensuring the safety of the campus community.

In August, the IHL Board of Trustees recommend students and employees get vaccinated but voted against making it a system-wide requirement.

“The Board of Trustees strongly recommends all eligible students and employees within the university system get vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccine is clearly the best protection against COVID-19 infections, transmissions, and has been medically reviewed and approved by our country’s leading scientific experts. However, the Board does not deem it prudent to require it as a condition of employment or enrollment, except at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and other clinical settings,” said Dr. J. Walt Starr, President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, after the decision was passed on Aug 27.

In the weeks following the decision, the faculty senate said USM supported the vaccine by hosting incentive programs for students. A total of 60 incentives were set to be awarded to USM students from July 30 through Oct. 15.

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