Published: April 20, 2021
By: Adrian Dubose | LSU Manship School News Service
Two professors are asking LSU’s Faculty Senate to call on the university to require its 34,000 students in Baton Rouge to receive COVID-19 vaccinations before returning to campus for in-person classes next fall.
The Faculty Senate will discuss the resolution on Thursday afternoon. It calls on LSU to add the COVID-19 vaccine to a list of mandatory immunizations for students that includes vaccinations for measles, mumps and other diseases or to implement a COVID vaccine requirement through other means.
In the resolution, the professors, Inessa Bazayev and Tara Houston, who teach in the College of Music and Dramatic Arts, cited the growing number of universities around the country – now at 52 – that are requiring vaccines, and they assert that numerous LSU faculty members have expressed support for the requirement.
A copy of the resolution was released Tuesday, a day after Interim LSU President Tom Galligan announced that the school could not require vaccinations given that federal regulators approved the COVID vaccines for emergency use without completing full safety investigations.
Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System, cited the same reason in saying that he did not plan to require vaccinations before students return in the fall.
Galligan and Henderson both said they were strongly encouraging the tens of thousands of students in their systems to get the COVID vaccines and that they were considering other precautions like requiring masks or COVID testing. Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System, cited the same reason in saying that he did not plan to require vaccinations before students return in the fall.
The Louisiana Legislature and the Louisiana Department of Health normally set vaccine requirements, and neither has mandated vaccination for COVID-19.
The Legislature is controlled by Republicans, including some who are skeptical of the vaccines. State Rep. Tanner Magee, of Houma, the second-ranking Republican in the House, said that he did not see any chance that lawmakers would approve a mandate.
Fifty-two colleges around the country have announced plans to require all students to be vaccinated before they return in the fall, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. They include some of the biggest-name private schools like Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, and Johns Hopkins as well as Xavier University in New Orleans.
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