WVU prof says vaccination mandate proposal picking up steam among faculty

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University Faculty Assembly will hold a special meeting next week to vote on resolution urging officials to implement a campus-wide vaccination mandate.

WVU Associate Professor in the College of Creative Arts Jared Sims said the effort started with a petition that drew so much support for the idea that the special meeting was scheduled.

“Medical, engineering, the Eberly Building downtown. This is not just coming from me, and I don’t know all the faculty that signed either- this took off in a matter of hours,” Sims said Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline.”

Among schools in West Virginia, the University of Charleston and Bethany College, both private, have vaccine mandates. Nationwide larger schools like Ohio State University, Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University are among others with mandates.

“There are 800 universities that have a mandate and some of them are in West Virginia,” Sims said. “This is not something that’s happening in other places, it’s happening in this state.”

Sims said members of the assembly want to make every effort to have a normal school year. He said an uninterrupted school year without lockdowns will help students recover from more than a year in some level of isolation.

“We don’t want to have interruptions, nobody wants interruptions, including the people who live paycheck-to-paycheck,” Sims said. “This is about the mental health of our faculty, staff and students.”

For many years vaccines have been used to control or eradicate dangerous diseases, and in many they were, and still are mandated today.

“There is immunization required against MMR, meningitis, polio, tetanus and Hepatitis-B, so having a mandate for a vaccine is nothing new,” he said.

The mandate would eliminate the uncertainty and fear of getting the virus and dealing with the recovery, Sims said, adding it will also eliminate a major worry that will allow students and faculty to focus on performing at their highest level possible.

“Quite frankly, to provide the type of education that we’re trying to provide we need everybody’s physical health, we need them there,” Sims said. “We need everybody in good health, strong and safe.”

The West Virginia University Faculty Assembly will meet Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 3 p.m.

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