We have made it to spring. If you are like me, you welcome the promise of sunshine and long days and marvel at the reawakening of plants and animals. Spring always hits me with an air of promise and optimism.
This first week of the term has also shown us that we must continue to be active and engaged in our community if we are to have the Bright Future we hope for.
You may have noticed that the same day we returned to campus, Administration announced the elimination of its vaccine mandate policy, to take effect the very same day. When I received word of this I was deeply disappointed.
- Faculty, academic professionals, staff, and students were not consulted about this decision.
- There was no warning given to supervisors who could support employees to understand implications of this policy change.
- Employees who may want to seek accommodation requests or change their work schedules must now spend time navigating time-consuming accommodation paperwork and policies, rather than attending to what is most important in our work - serving students.
All in all, this unilateral decision made without any input from the people whom it most directly effects shows Administration’s lack of awareness around what true shared decision making and shared governance can and should be. AAUP members have shared many stories with me about their students and colleagues who are immunocompromised who have not felt safe returning to campus without a mask mandate. Now the university has shown its lack of support of our community and individuals who are, or whose family members are, at much higher risk for complications from contracting COVID.
We want to hear from you in reaction to this policy change. Please take a moment to fill out this 2-minute survey.
The elimination of this policy is not a step towards the Bright Future that we want for PSU. A Bright Future at PSU includes shared governance and true shared decision making. A Bright Future at PSU means that we support our minoritized students and employees, including those who are immunocompromised and whose participation in our community has been hindered by Administrative decisions made without their input.
In a private communication I asked President Percy: Whom does this serve? Who and what is being privileged by this decision? Who is being disenfranchised? And does this align with our PSU values?
We will soon welcome to campus Dr. Ann Cudd, our new University President. As we prepare for the presidential transition, it is incumbent on each and every one of us to push Administration toward robust, collaborative conversations that include students, faculty, academic professionals, and staff. We must push for strong shared governance if we are to have the Bright Future that we know we can achieve, if only we take the right steps.