The University Council approved a resolution supporting mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for students, faculty and staff participating in on-campus activities this fall.
Faculty Senate Chairperson Jennifer Johnson said that the University Council is a representation of faculty, students and administration. The council includes about 70 faculty representatives, at least 30 student representatives, and representatives from the dean's office.
“If this body decides to endorse it, what that means is that this group — that’s representative of faculty, students, and administration — would like to see a vaccine mandate on campus,” Johnson said.
President for Academic Governance Tyler Silvestri said that the University Council does not have the authority to put a mandate in place. The resolution just signals the University Council supports a vaccine mandate.
“Whether vaccines will be required is up to President Stanley, and he is in no way bound by what University Council does or doesn’t support,” Silvestri said.
Director of the Early Detection Program Jack Lipton spoke at the University Council meeting and voiced his approval of having a vaccine mandate for students, staff and faculty at Michigan State University this fall.
“As a community, we should collectively resolve that a COVID-19 vaccine is needed for reasonable community safety and should be required for faculty, staff and students that choose to work or study at MSU,” Lipton said at the meeting.
As the director of the Early Detection Program at MSU, Lipton said that they designed the program to eventually become obsolete when nearly everyone who can be vaccinated is safely vaccinated.
“Many of us in the program sacrificed a year of our professional lives to try and keep campus safe by developing a comprehensive testing program for COVID-19,” Lipton said. “We are still committed to that safety. However, with better tools like vaccines, we can prevent or minimize disease spread instead of spotting and isolating individuals.”
Other faculty members spoke in favor of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate at the University Council meeting before voting.
By a vote of 87-11, the majority of the University Council voted in favor of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
As President Stanley adjourned the meeting, he emphasized that Michigan State University is still requiring face masks indoors, but is looking at new MIOSHA rules and ways to accommodate those changes.
“Please be safe, and please, as we talked about, get vaccinated,” Stanley said in the council meeting. “That’s the critical thing going forward.”
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