The University of Georgia academic council passed two resolutions supporting the implementation of COVID-19 mandates on campus in a meeting Wednesday afternoon.
While the resolutions themselves are not political, they demonstrate the council’s desire to see more security measures put in place. The council is made up of over 200 members from across the university community, from deans to student representatives.
The first resolution, presented to the board by the facilities committee, urges UGA President Jere Morehead to support the requirement for faculty, staff, and students to be vaccinated and wear masks at home. interior of university facilities. He went through 117-19, with 29 abstentions.
The UGA administration has repeatedly stated that it does not have the authority to impose masks or vaccines on campus because it must follow the guidelines of the Georgia university system on these matters.
The second term was not originally on the meeting’s agenda and was proposed at the meeting by Philosophy Professor Richard Dien Winfield. The resolution calls for the USG’s chancellor and board of regents to “immediately release local control” of the UGA so that it can independently adopt COVID-19 policies.
In proposing the resolution, Winfield insisted on its urgency and called it a matter of life and death.
“We need to free ourselves from the control of the Board of Regents, the chancellor of the USG,” Winfield said. “We already have local governance institutions which, in the current situation, are unable to make binding decisions regarding COVID-19 mitigation. We must eliminate this situation.
The board had to vote first to add the resolution to the meeting agenda. Out of 30 abstentions, 79 members of the board voted for adding the resolution to the agenda and 38 against. With 67.5% support, the resolution barely passed the requirement that two-thirds of voting members support its addition to the agenda. Abstentions do not count as voting members.
Once the resolution was placed on the agenda, it was adopted by 82-29, with 31 abstentions.
Letter to the administration of the UGA
The board also voted to approve a letter from the Faculty Affairs Committee and send it to Morehead and Senior Vice President S. Jack Hu. The letter calls on administrators to work with the USG Board of Regents and the governor to implement the mandates of vaccines and indoor masks, as well as randomized testing in the UGA community.
Joseph Fu, a math teacher and strong advocate for campus security measures, spoke in favor of the letter. He pointed to the dissonance in holding University Council meetings online for security reasons while holding face-to-face classes in crowded lecture halls.
“The administration has repeatedly asserted the inability, the lack of authority, to push for serious COVID-19 restrictions or policies,” Fu said. “I have personally claimed the power to impose a mask mandate in my classes, which has been a great success. I had no problem. I recommend this action plan to our administration.
The council voted in favor of the letter by 117 votes to 19, with 29 abstentions.