OSU weighs COVID-19 vaccine mandate for on-campus activities

Students are reacting to the university's announcement it could put a vaccination requirement in place.

Posted: Apr 27, 2021 1:23 PM
Updated: Apr 27, 2021 6:13 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The conversation surrounding the requirement of a COVID-19 vaccination continues at colleges and universities.

Oregon State University leaders said in an email to families on Monday that a vaccination requirement could be a possibility in the future as they move to resume on-campus activities. 

OSU spokesperson Steve Clark said that at the moment, vaccinations are not required upon return for the fall academic year.

"We anticipate, however, that over the next several months as the Food and Drug Administration provides licensing approval for vaccines -- we anticipate at that moment we will receive directions by the state of Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority, the governor's office to make vaccines a requirement," Clark said. "We believe we're headed in that direction."

Noah Vaughan, a graduate student at OSU and a leader within the Coalition of Graduate Employees, said it’s an obligation for the university to protect the entire community and reach out to the unions on campus.

“It’s kind of interesting to see that OSU has considerable influence and power in making this a possibility, and they refuse to exercise that power and influence,” Vaughan said. “That’s something that I would really hope to see change.”

OSU sophomore Jonathan Mather shared his thoughts.

“I don't think that it should be required,” Mather said. “I think there should be a certain amount of freedom in what you personally choose to do — especially with your own body. In medical terms, we have a lot of laws protecting people's rights to medical information and what they want to do in terms of those kind of things. So I just don't think that it's something that should be mandated in any sense.”

OSU sophomore Patrick Otis agreed.

“I don't think it should be required at all,” Otis said. “I would advise people to get it to protect themselves, people around them and get back to normal — but I don't think it should be required at all.”

If a requirement is made, there would be legally-required exemptions.

“I think everyone should get the vaccine," OSU junior Destin Takenaka-Amodo said. “It’s better for everyone in the community to be safe."

Clark said that 49,000 people within the OSU and Corvallis community have been vaccinated at Reser Stadium since the mass vaccination clinics began in January.

"I think by being vaccinated -- we will make ourselves more healthy," Clark said. "We will make our community stronger and more vital and will contribute to wellness. While that sounds really noble and altruistic, the best benefit is that we can gather in the future together in ways that we haven't been able to since last year. It is so very important. It's up to us as a community."

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