The WVU Faculty Senate passed a non-binding joint resolution with Marshall University's Faculty Senate Monday in favor of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
The final vote was 56-11, with 7 abstaining. Jared Sims, director of jazz studies at WVU, introduced the resolution.
The resolution is non-binding, and administrators at both schools have repeatedly said they are not mandating the vaccine in the near future.
Both bodies had previously passed individual resolutions in support of a vaccine mandate on their respective campuses, but Monday’s vote marks the first time that a joint resolution has been passed.
Administrators at both schools have declined to mandate the shot. They have often cited the high on-campus vaccinations rates and the small but vocal minority that is opposed to the COVID vaccine.
The move from faculty at West Virginia’s two largest universities comes as state lawmakers consider legislation during a special session that would require employers who mandate the COVID-19 vaccine to allow religious and medical exemptions.
Read the full resolution:
WHEREAS, the Faculty Senate affirms the value of an in-person residential experience at Marshall University and West Virginia University,
WHEREAS, the Faculty Assembly affirms the value of offering educational opportunities in healthy classroom environments,
WHEREAS, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education at least 1,066 campuses have implemented vaccine mandates for students and/or employees,
WHEREAS, MU and WVU faculty wish to avoid interruptions to in-person activities due to COVID-19 disease outbreaks,
WHEREAS, the mental health of many of our students, faculty, and staff is severely at risk if in-person activities are limited or suspended due to COVID-19 outbreaks,
WHEREAS, the Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as assurance that it prevents COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older,
WHEREAS, the WVU Health System has mandated that all employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine,
WHEREAS, in the interest of a safe and healthy campus community, Marshall University and West Virginia University have an existing policy that requires students to be immunized against MMR, meningitis, polio, tetanus, and Hepatitis B,
WHEREAS, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is free and easily accessible,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Faculty Senate supports mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all students and employees by January 1, 2022, with legally mandated exceptions.