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Saturday May 27th

Vaccine mandate discussion occurring at the state level, Guskiewicz says

Faculty Executive Committee discusses vaccine mandate and gender inequity

Members of the Faculty Executive Committee met over Zoom on Monday April 26, 2021 to discuss summer and fall plans and the possibility of a vaccine mandate.
Buy Photos Members of the Faculty Executive Committee met over Zoom on Monday April 26, 2021 to discuss summer and fall plans and the possibility of a vaccine mandate.

Members of the Faculty Executive Committee met Monday to discuss summer and fall plans — including the possibility of a student vaccine mandate. 

UNC has previously said it will not require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But more and more colleges and universities across the country are issuing vaccine mandates for students. 

The executive committee also heard from the Committee on the Status of Women regarding gender salary inequity at UNC. 

What happened?

  • Many private universities, such as nearby Duke University, will require all students to receive a vaccine for the fall 2021 semester. Other public institutions have recently followed suit, including Cleveland State University, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the California State University System and the University System of Maryland. 
  • Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said the vaccine mandate discussion is happening at the state level. He said the North Carolina Commission for Public Health has the authority to change the vaccine policy on campus and that the University would encounter legal issues if it issued a vaccine mandate.
    • Guskiewicz noted that there is vaccine hesitancy among historically marginalized communities, which must be considered when discussing a vaccine mandate. 
    • Guskiewicz said Campus Health experts say the UNC student body is already a “highly vaccinated campus community.”
  • Faculty Chairperson Mimi Chapman said she understands that UNC could be sued for all kinds of things, but the science is on the side of a vaccine mandate. 
    • “It seems really important that universities lead the way,” Chapman said. "Vaccines have become a political football and that is not how it should be. Whether there has been specific guidance from institutions of higher learning or not, there has been clear guidance that everybody who is eligible should get vaccinated as quickly as possible and that is the way to keep these variants from evolving and to stop the pandemic.”
  • Professor Misha Becker, a faculty appointee on the Committee on the Status of Women, presented data on salary inequity at UNC.
    • Becker said studies show that women are less likely to be tenured, have a rank as a full professor and have a distinguished professorship compared to men. 
    • Becker said she found that little has changed concerning salary inequity from 2017 to 2020. 
    • Provost Bob Blouin proposed stopping new hiring in departments that have major issues in gender equity until it improves. 
      • “I do not know any other way to do it other than to put the burden back on the schools and to acknowledge that we have a problem,” said Blouin. “If you value the faculty, particularly the women faculty, in your school then be fair and make sure that they are appropriately compensated for the job that they are doing.”
  • Blouin said next fall semester COVID-19 community standards will continue to be in place, but will likely be modified according to CDC recommendations.
    • There will be a University testing program, but it is undetermined how much testing will be required and for whom, said Blouin. 
  • Blouin discussed the University’s summer plans, which will entail day camps for minors as well as remote and in-person classes. 
    • Blouin said the University will have day camps this summer, but not overnight camps for people under the age of 18. 
    • The University anticipates that 85 percent of summer classes for undergraduate students will be remote, said Blouin.

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