CORRECTION: This story was corrected to accurately state that some faculty senators support vaccinations, but not the vaccine mandate.
The Eastern Kentucky University Faculty Senate adopted a “Resolution regarding a COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate at Eastern Kentucky University” on Oct. 4. The resolution was submitted jointly by the Faculty Welfare committee and the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities committee.
The resolution resolved that “The Administration of Eastern Kentucky University will impose a mandate requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all faculty, staff and students.” When the resolution was introduced, Faculty Senator Gerald Nachtwey clarified that the resolution “is not the mandate itself, but a formal declaration to the administration that the faculty senate, representing the best interests of the faculty, would recommend that a mandate is implemented by the administration.”
The mandate was approved by a vote, with 77.40% of senators voting yes, and 18.95% voting no.
“It is up to the administration now,” said Faculty Senator Melanie Adams-Johnson.
A recent survey that Richard Crosby, the Faculty Senate chair, and a Foundation Professor in the School of Music, sent out to all full and part time faculty showed 559 (73.84%) faculty in favor and 198 (26.16%) against a “vaccine requirement for all faculty, staff, and students (allowing for exceptions for documented medical and religious reason).”
Some support vaccinations, but not the vaccine mandate. Faculty Senator Michael Fore, an assistant professor of management at EKU, said that he was vaccinated but “my concern with this is that it is coming from the faculty senate. I am for the vaccination, but I don’t want to tell my colleagues that I voted that they either get a medical treatment I think they should get or lose their job.”
Fore continued, “It is likely that EKU will be included in OSHA mandates from the federal government soon.”
Faculty Senator Adams-Johnson, an assistant professor and clinical coordinator for the School of Nursing, favors the resolution, and disagrees with Fore.
Adams-Jonson said, “This resolution came out of two committees, the health and welfare committee and the faculty rights and responsibilities committee, and do I think that this vaccine is a welfare issue for the community? I do. Do I think that this resolution is part of the responsibility of the faculty? Yes, I do.”
Adams-Johnson mentioned that in the nursing program, students involved in clinical experiences are already required to get the vaccination. Students in clinical settings have to follow the rules of the clinical agency.
Adams-Johnson also spoke for the efficacy of the vaccine. “95% of the people in hospitals in Kentucky for COVID-19 are unvaccinated, and they are taking up space that is needed, or may be needed, for other health issues,” Adams-Johnson said.