AAUP-KSU reaches tentative agreements with university for faculty vaccine requirements

Emma Andrus Reporter

Leaders of Kent State’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the faculty union, reached separate tentative agreements with Kent State on language for two memoranda of understanding (MOU) related to faculty vaccination requirements.

The details of the MOUs were announced in emails sent to tenure track and non-tenure track faculty members Saturday.

The memoranda states that all full-time non-tenure track (FTNTT) and tenure track (TT) faculty must either receive a COVID-19 vaccine or request an exemption, according to the non-tenure track email signed by Tracy A. Laux, president of the FTNTT Bargaining Unit, and the tenure track email signed by AAUP-KSU president Deborah Smith. The language aligns with the requirements put in place for students and employees not represented by AAUP. 

According to the MOUs: 

  • Faculty will be notified of the specific policy and protocols by the university and AAUP-KSU “on or about” Oct. 1, 2021.

  • Faculty will be required to complete one of the following by Nov. 1, 2021:

    • Submit evidence of vaccination via an electronic system

    • Submit an exemption form

  • Faculty who have submitted evidence of vaccination will not be subject to testing protocols. Unvaccinated faculty will be subject to testing protocols. 

  • Faculty members who miss a required testing appointment will receive an email and will be asked to reschedule. After missing two consecutive testing appointments, faculty will be required to attend an informal meeting and sign a document indicating they understand and will comply with the testing protocols. Failure to sign the document may result in “progressive discipline.” 

  • Faculty members not in compliance by Dec. 20, 2021 may be subject to “formal sanctions.”

“AAUP-KSU leadership recognizes that faculty must do our part to ensure a healthy and safe learning and working environment for students, faculty, and staff on all eight of the University’s campuses,” the emails stated. “In the face of the delta variant of COVID-19, AAUP-KSU leadership further recognizes that the only way to achieve this is for everyone who can do so to get vaccinated. At the same time, we recognize that there are individuals, who for health or religious reasons, cannot get vaccinated.”

The memoranda cannot go into effect until AAUP-KSU receives a majority vote from paying members in both bargaining units, the emails state. AAUP-KSU will conduct a meeting via Microsoft Teams at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21 for faculty in both bargaining units to allow members to ask questions about the MOUs. 

Voting will be conducted electronically beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 and will conclude at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24. 

Emma Andrus is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]