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Most Mississippi public university employees facing vaccine mandate

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:31 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Most employees at Mississippi’s public universities are now facing a vaccination deadline. The College Board voting Monday that the schools will have to comply with the President’s executive order if the institution holds any federal contracts.

The College Board says the President’s Executive Order mandating vaccine effectively ties their hands.

“All university employees except those working exclusively from an exempt remote workplace, who are not working on or in connection with a covered contract, shall comply with federally imposed vaccine mandates,” read Trustee Gee Ogletree from the 8-point motion he presented to the board.

Let’s rewind to what happened leading up to Monday’s 9-3 vote.

August 27, the IHL board voted 9-2 against requiring vaccines for students, teachers and faculty. September 9, the President signs the executive order requiring federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated. And September 16, the IHL board voted 8-1 to ban vaccine mandates.

Mississippi State history research librarian DeeDee Baldwin says it’s added to frustrations for those wanting to see more folks on campuses vaccinated.

“They had the meeting where they said, ‘We’re not going to require it,’” Baldwin said of the college board. “And then all of a sudden, it was saying.. no, you can’t do it. So it all just the progression of it, especially that last step seemed very shady to us.”

Now that the mandate will take effect?

“It would have been more useful before,” noted Baldwin. “But better they’re late than never.”

But the money seemed to talk.

“At the present time, IHL institutions have approximately 120 federal contracts having at least a present combined value of $271 million dollars,” said Trustee Ogeltree in the board meeting.

Trustee Teresa Hubbard tried to delay a vote on the motion and also said she believed it was too restrictive.

“I think we’re using this motion to give our opinion on what the executive order says,” said Hubbard. “And I think that we should not do that in a motion. Because that’s not our duty to do.”

The motion was approved by a vote of 9-3. There will be the opportunity for employees to receive exemptions for certain qualifying reasons. To view the full motion and details of the vote, click HERE.

The board has not indicated how many employees this will impact. We should also note that board policy still keeps universities from requiring students be vaccinated.

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