NSHE Regents mandate vaccinate for employees

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Graphic by Madison Faries.

In a live-streamed Board of Regents meeting on Sept. 30, Regents and NSHE officials voted 10-3 on a mandate directive that would require all NSHE employees to get vaccinated. 

Roughly two hours of the meeting was full of the emotionally charged public tuning in virtually to deliver comments both in opposition and support. 

This decision comes after the regents voted unanimously on Sept. 10 to allow the NSHE Chancellor’s office to draft policies and procedures to implement a mandate. 

Like many of these meetings, a majority demonstrated opposition towards the new policy in public comment, as termination for not being vaccinated would be enforced.

The Regents moved forward with little discussion to approve the directive in a vote of 10-3.

Regents Patrick Boylan, Byron Brooks and Lois Tarkanian, all of whom represent districts in Clark County, voted “no.” 

While this policy is still in its early stages, it is unclear how medical and religious exemptions will be upheld. During the meeting members mentioned that they will be “considering them through a rigorous application process.”

According to Chancellor Melody Rose, approximately 80 percent of NSHE employees are vaccinated. Rose claims that there will be no significant loss of employers, but others expressed concerns over the potential violation of civil rights. 

Regent Patrick Boylan stated that he was opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine for many reasons but got vaccinated because he did not think it would be right to impose a mandate on others if he had not received the shots.

As it currently stands, the vaccination rates for Nevada’s eight institutions are as follows: DRI 87 percent, UNR 82 percent, NSC 80.8 percent, TMCC 77 percent, UNLV 75.5 percent, CSN 71.5 percent, WNC 68.3 percent, GBC 66 percent. 

Outside of Boylan, other regents voiced their support for the mandate claiming that it was a public health requirement and are following guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention alongside the Nevada State Board of Health. 

“I am pleased that the mandate was passed, despite the public comment that was sadly overwhelmingly against it,” Shannon Sumpter, UNLV faculty member, said.

Sumpter and other UNLV Faculty members have expressed appreciation for the NSHE mandate as they believe it’s a significant step towards combating the new delta variant. 

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