CMU to announce final COVID-19 policies soon as pressure grows for vaccine mandate

Right now, CMU is not requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for any students or faculty but it is strongly encouraging it.
A sign on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
A sign on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.(Colton Cichoracki WJRT)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 3:55 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WJRT) - Central Michigan University will be announcing its final COVID-19 policies for the fall semester as soon as Wednesday as debate over a vaccine mandate continues on campus.

Right now, CMU is not requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for any students or faculty but it is strongly encouraging it.

As concerns over the pandemic grow and other schools announce plans to require vaccination, there is growing pressure to mandate it at CMU as well. An online petition calling for an immediate COVID-19 vaccine requirement at CMU had over 1,250 signatures on Wednesday afternoon.

Recently, the board of directors of the CMU Faculty Association, a union that represents tenured and tenure-track faculty, released a statement in support of a resolution for a vaccine mandate for faculty, staff, and students on campus. The statement reads:

“The Board of Directors of the CMU Faculty Association fully supports the resolution to require vaccine mandates for faculty, staff, and students, on the Central Michigan University campus, for all those who are able to receive the vaccination. For those seeking exemptions for the mandate, the FA Board further supports the weekly testing and monitoring of those opting out (seeking exemptions) of the vaccine mandate. While we understand that there will be some faculty that will not want to be subject to the mandate, who are otherwise eligible to receive the vaccine, the Board of Directors of the CMU Faculty Association is taking the position of support with the greater health of our campus, Mount Pleasant, and Isabella County communities, at large in mind.”

Amanda E. Garrison, president of the CMU Faculty Association, tells ABC12 that supporting such a measure is to help protect not only the people on CMU’s campus but also the Mount Pleasant community.

“Part of our reasoning for supporting such a measure, it’s a controversial measure but ultimately it is one of the only ways to contribute to the overall better public health of the community,” she said.

Last year when students returned to campus, there was a spike in new COVID-19 cases in the Mount Pleasant area.

“I think ultimately what everybody wants is the health and safety of the community at large, students, faculty, staff, children, elderly folks,” Garrison said.

Garrison is also a professor at CMU and serves on the university’s Academic Senate. She said the senate held an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss a resolution about a vaccine mandate on campus. At the end of it, the resolution passed in a vote of 52-4 with seven people who did not vote.

That vote did not set policy but it is a recommendation that will go to university officials who ultimately decide on whether a mandate will come.

While there is growing pressure to have a mandate, there is not uniform support. There are people on campus and in the community that do not support a vaccine mandate and would rather it be left as a choice.

A separate online petition, for example, started recently that is not in favor of a mandate. It has a few hundred signatures on it already.

ABC12 did reach out to CMU staff and we are told that an announcement of the university’s final COVID-19 policies will be announced as early as Wednesday.

If CMU does require COVID-19 vaccinations, it would join other schools like the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Grand Valley State University as requiring the vaccine.

Earlier this month, CMU did announce that masks will be required on campus this fall. To see all of CMU’s latest guidance on its COVID-19 policy, click here.

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