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FSU Survey/Vote Results and Vaccine Mandate


Dear FSU Members,

A quick update on possible vaccine mandate and two recent FSU surveys.

Vaccine mandate:  The FSU has been in discussions with the Administration about a vaccine requirement for all faculty and librarians.  We expect the policy will be announced this week. 

Remote Teaching:  315 faculty responded to the survey asking whether the number of remote classes being offered in the Fall should be expanded (given changing health conditions).   257 (over 80%) said they thought a larger percentage of classes should be offered remotely, 39 (12%) said they did not know, and only 19 (6%) said No.  More than 70% said that they would personally like the option of teaching remotely for the Fall.   In short, faculty overwhelmingly support expanded remote teaching – to reduce density on campus and improve safety for students, staff, and faculty. 

FSU Statement:  Results from the “FSU Statement on Minimum Health and Safety Procedures for Return to Campus” were even more decisive.  Of the slightly more than 400 faculty and librarians who responded, more than 90% supported the below statement – which will be sent to the Administration.

FSU Statement on Minimum Health and Safety Procedures for Return to Campus

As faculty and librarians at UMass Boston, we recognize the importance of in-person education and being on campus for our students.  The classroom, and the broader campus experience, is why we became educators. We are also concerned, however, that UMass Boston is not prepared for the health and safety challenges posed by the spread of the Delta variant, and has not sought to reduce density on campus or implement many of the safety measures routinely found at other universities.   We believe that, at the very least, the following practices and protocols should be in place as we begin the Fall semester.  We also know that this situation, as well as the processes, protocols, and conversations should and will continue to evolve.  

1)  Everyone who comes to campus must be fully vaccinated (subject to legally established exemptions), and it is a condition for attending in-person classes.  

2) Faculty and librarians have the right to enforce the mask mandate in their classroom and library spaces and cannot be compelled to remain in the classroom or library spaces if any students remain unmasked or inadequately masked (not sufficiently covering nose and mouth) after being asked to put their mask on. The university will provide free masks at shuttle pickups and throughout campus, as well as develop and train a committee, with union representation, to handle cases where conflict arises when someone does not adhere to the face mask policy or other COVID-related safety measures.  

3) The university must make public their protocol for ensuring accuracy with respect to the vaccination status of all members of the campus community. The campus community will be informed weekly of Covid cases on campus in the aggregate form.  Faculty have the right to be informed of positive test cases in their classroom.   And the university has the responsibility to inform students enrolled in the class of positive test cases in their classroom. 

4)  Given differential risk thresholds, faculty have the right to shift teaching modalities in response to an increased risk from Covid-19 to themselves and/or to family or household members, even if the University as a whole has not shifted to a remote modality.   

5) Faculty have the right to hold office hours remotely.   

6) The University will provide significantly increased shuttle services and will ensure social distancing and enforced mask mandates on the shuttles.  To ensure transparency, the university will make public the number of shuttle routes run in September 2019 vs. September 2021, controlling for those lots currently open.   

7) The University has an obligation to develop and publicize a plan to reduce crowding in campus public spaces, including but not limited to elevators, catwalks and other routinely crowded spaces.    

8) Faculty and librarians have the right to transparency as to what metrics will prompt a “pivot” towards remote or hybrid teaching, and union representation on the committee(s) or bodies developing these metrics.  

9) All faculty, librarians, staff and students shall have access to free PCR testing on demand for Covid-19 on campus, regardless of vaccination status.   

10) The university will provide microphones and personal protective equipment (PPE) to faculty and librarians to help protect their health and safety from the virus during in-person instruction as well as assuring they will be audible in the classroom and library spaces.