PFW seeking student input about vaccine mandate; to hold town hall meeting

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Purdue University Fort Wayne is seeking input about a potential COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students, faculty and staff.

PFW’s vice chancellor for enrollment management and the student experience, Kristina Creager, will host a virtual town hall on Thursday at 6 p.m.

“We appreciate the willingness of our students, faculty, and staff to explore ideas to increase vaccination rates among members of our campus community,” said Geoff Thomas, a PFW spokesperson in an email. “Purdue Fort Wayne believes getting vaccinated is one of the most important steps we all can take to help bring an end to the pandemic.”

According to Thomas, PFW’s faculty senate introduced a non-binding resolution to have the university adopt the vaccine mandate, that would start the spring 2022 semester, on Sept. 13. A week later, the final version of the resolution was approved.

Therefore, the university felt that hearing from its students was a “logical next step.”

“The university is interested in collecting valuable input and guidance from multiple groups,” said Thomas. “I think it’s important to note our desire for understanding and civility as different individuals and groups are asked to share their opinions.”

To get that input, the university will host the virtual town hall.

Creager was not available for an interview on Wednesday. However, the university’s weekly student newsletter that was distributed Wednesday morning said, “Please note, no decision has been made at this time. The goal is to establish a student perspective on the topic. The town hall will not be an occasion for debate; rather, a chance to allow students to share opinions and concerns on this topic.”

Michael Sassman, a third-year student at PFW studying mechanical engineering, said he plans to use the meeting to speak about the low chances of students dying from COVID.

“The argument can be made about the professors that are over 60 [being higher risk] and they can get vaccinated,” said Sassman. “That’s why I’m about the choice of getting vaccinated… I do believe that to an extent it works, but I don’t think it works, to the extent of forcing people to get it. I believe in the freedom of who you are and choosing what medical procedures you get.”

Thursday’s virtual town hall session will begin at 6 p.m. Students received a link a link to the meeting through internal communication, the university said.

Additional town hall sessions will be considered if needed, according to Thomas.

Purdue Fort Wayne on Wednesday extended its mask mandate in campus buildings through the Thanksgiving break.

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