AAUP-KSU votes yes on agreements with university for faculty vaccine requirements

Jimmy Oswald Sports Editor

The Kent State chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) overwhelmingly voted yes on two memoranda of understanding (MOU) on implementing a requirement that all faculty either be vaccinated or undergo a routine testing protocol.

Tenure track (TT) faculty passed the MOU with a 94.5 percent ‘Yes’ vote, and full-time non tenure track (FTNTT) faculty passed their parallel MOU by a 91.7 percent ‘Yes’ vote, according to an email signed by AAUP-KSU president Deborah Smith. 

A tentative agreement was reached on Sept. 18 by AAUP-KSU on language for the two MOUs.

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.”

“No one who is strongly opposed to getting the vaccine will be forced to get the vaccine,” a Sept. 18 email from FTNTT bargaining unit president Tracy A. Laux announcing the tentative agreement stated.  “However, individuals not receiving the vaccine will be required to undergo the testing protocol in order to do their part to keep our campuses healthy and safe. As such, the requirement articulated in the MOU isn’t best thought of as a vaccine mandate; rather, it is a mandate to either get vaccinated or undergo routine testing.”

The memoranda could not go into effect until the two bargaining units received a majority vote from paying members. 

Voting was conducted electronically beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 and concluded at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.

 Jimmy Oswald is a sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].