CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Penn State faculty members rallied on the steps on Old Main on Friday, calling on the university to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations and masking. Simultaneously, the faculty senate held a special meeting, ultimately voting in favor of two COVID-19 resolutions.
The faculty senate said they have no confidence in the university’s current COVID-19 plan. They passed a resolution supporting mandatory vaccinations, masking, and giving faculty the option of whether to have classes online or in person.
This special meeting was called shortly after University President Eric Barron released a letter Thursday night overviewing the university’s plan and encouraging vaccinations, but still not requiring them.
“Mandating vaccines is essential to ensuring not only the safety of Penn State, but the overarching state college community which we all share an equal responsibility in protecting,” said Najee Rodriguez, vice president of the University Park Undergraduate Association.
At the rally on Old Main, demonstrators spoke out against Barron’s implications in the letter, where he noted that requiring a vaccine could severely cut school funding from the republican-controlled legislature.
“Both Michigan universities in the Big Ten are requiring the vaccine,” said a statement from Penn State student Josh Portnoy. “They aren’t afraid of losing their funding and why should we be?”
“Our demands continue to go unheeded with the excuse of political retaliation, this is not a political issue,” said Rodriguez.
These resolutions will be passed on to the Board of Trustees and President Barron as recommendations.
One amendment that did not pass would have required unvaccinated students to pay for their own COVID-19 tests. The university will be fronting those costs.
New students are set to move-in on Monday, August 16.