University of Western Faculty Association urges mandatory vaccines on campus

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: MARTIN ALLEN
Western University, Oct. 25, 2018.

On Tuesday, The University of Western Faculty Association (UWOFA) released a statement calling on Western University to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all students and staff on campus.

On Monday, the provincial government announced a full return in-person post-secondary education in the fall, with no plans to mandate vaccinations for students and faculty.

In response, the union representing 1,500 faculty members and 50 librarians and archivists at Western University raised concerns regarding the decision.

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“In light of the announcement Monday by the provincial government about a normal return to campus in September, UWOFA calls on Western university administration to require all eligible students, staff, faculty, librarians and archivists to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus, acknowledging that some may be exempt for medical or religious reasons,” read the statement.

The statement mentions concerns over the Delta variant as well as the potential of a fourth wave of COVID-19 in the fall.

“Everyone has a right to a safe work and learning environment, and this can only be achieved if the vast majority of individuals on campus are fully vaccinated and strict health and safety measures are in place such as proper indoor ventilation,” said UWOFA president Nigmendra Narain.

In May, Western announced that it would be mandating vaccinations for students planning to live in residence in the fall. Unvaccinated students will have 14 days after their move-in date to access a vaccine if they have not already. However, no mandate was put in place for students not planning to live in residence.

At a news conference Monday, Western University president Alan Shepard stated that the university “has gone as far as it can go, legally” in its vaccine mandate strategy.

The UWOFA suggested Western has not gone far enough.

Fanshawe College, meanwhile, has so far followed a similar model to Western’s, stating that students will be required to provide proof of a first dose of a vaccine if they plan to live in residence. The college is strongly encouraging all other students and staff to get vaccinated, but has not laid out any further mandates at this time.